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Full text of "Sketches from the Karen hills"

ONZOmUNKER. 




Garafraxd 













(416) 




Presented to the 

LIBRARY of the 

UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO 

by 

DR. A. W. CONN 



SKETCHES FROM THE 
KAREN HILLS 



By Alonzo Bunker, D. D. 

"The Making of a Nation" 

SOO THAH 

A Tale of the Karens. Introduc 
tion by Henry C. Mabie, D.D. 
Illustrated, 12mo, cloth, $1.00 net 

"The Karens are a wonderful people, 
and their conversion to Christianity has 
been one of the marvels of the nineteenth 
century. The style of the book will 
make it a delight to read, and some peo 
ple will get a conception of Christian 
missions, as carried on not only by mis 
sionaries, but by the native Christians 
also, such as they never had before. " 
Examiner. 

"Here is a story of the conversion of 
the Karen people, told in a plain, fasci 
nating style by a missionary. How this 
came about is the burden of the story. 
There is a charm to this bit of history 
that makes it read like a romance, and 
no one can lay it aside without a strong 
desire to read to the end. " 

Reformed Church Messenger. 

"Short, well written and interesting. 
Adventure, social life and missionary 
work are each well treated. The author 
has done his work well. " 

Baltimore Sun. 



Sketches from the 
Karen Hills 



By 

ALONZO BUNKER, D.D. 

Author of "SooThah" 



With an introduction by 
REV. HENRY M. KING, D.D. 




NEW YORK CHICAGO TORONTO 

Fleming H, Revell Company 

LONDON AND EDINBURGH 



Copyright, 1910, by 
FLEMING H. REVELL COMPANY 




New York: 158 Fifth Avenue 
Chicago: 80 Wabash Avenue 
Toronto: 25 Richmond St,W. 
London : 21 Paternoster Square 
Edinburgh: 100 Princes Street 



INTRODUCTION 

EVERY person who is interested in the tri 
umphs of the gospel, and in the often thrilling 
experiences of the men who, in obedience to 
a Divine call, are giving their lives to make 
it known to the unenlightened and bar 
barous peoples of the East, will welcome this 
small volume of missionary sketches from the 
pen of Rev. Dr. Alonzo Bunker, who for forty 
years has been an honoured and successful repre 
sentative in Burma of the American Baptist 
Missionary Union. This new volume will be es 
pecially welcome to those who have read with 
delight and profit " Soo Thah," a book by the 
same author, published a few years since, and 
for which there is still a large demand by the 
reading public. 

Dr. Bunker has been emphatically a pioneer 
missionary. The work to which he was assigned 
necessitated long and difficult journeys over vast 
mountainous regions, infested by wild beasts and 
untraversed by the feet of white men, to reach 
5 



6 Introduction 

tribes of men grossly ignorant, and hardly less 
wild than their untamed neighbours of the for 
est. Such service demanded courage and faith 
in an unusual degree, and made the life a con 
stant exhibition of Christian heroism and self- 
denying devotion to its supreme purpose. It 
also furnished experiences which are not com 
mon even in missionary service, bringing him 
into touch with nature in its sublimest scenes, 
and with human nature in its deepest degrada 
tion and ignorance. Moreover, it gave opportu 
nities to witness the regenerating and trans 
forming, the humanising and enlightening power 
of Christianity, which can take primitive and 
savage men, and change them into peaceable 
neighbours, into lovers of truth and sobriety and 
righteousness, into devout worshippers of the 
one true God, into exemplary Christian disciples, 
into intelligent and patriotic and law-abiding 
citizens. 

Dr. Bunker has lived long enough and seen 
enough of the results of his labours and the la 
bours of his fellow missionaries to cry out with 
joyful gratitude, " Behold, what hath God 
wrought ! " The people to whom he was sent, 
and for whose present and eternal well-being he 



Introduction 7 

has devoted his long life, are the Karens, the 
hill-tribes of Burma, who to-day, with their 
hundreds of Christian schools and churches, and 
their thousands of sincere followers of Christ in 
communities of probably hundreds of thousands 
of people who have been brought to some extent 
under the influence of the Christian religion, 
have become an instructive and inspiring object- 
lesson for the whole Christian world. 

From a long and richly varied experience in 
exceptional circumstances, Dr. Bunker has se 
lected a few chapters for publication, which can 
not fail to attract both young and old, affording 
pleasure, imparting information, appealing to 
Christian sympathy, and kindling a deeper devo 
tion to that noblest of all service, viz., the win 
ning of men back to the life and love of God. 
The chapters are written in a beautifully simple 
and transparent style, and are like windows 
through which we are able to see the author s 
mind and heart, his intense love for the beau 
tiful and sublime in nature, for the flowers which 
deck the valleys and the storm-clouds which en 
velop and shake the mountains, his appreciation 
of the sweetness and naturalness of childhood 
wherever found, his faith in the possibilities of 



8 Introduction 

the soul when touched by the quickening grace 
of God, his confidence in the power of Chris 
tian truth to elevate and ennoble human life and 
character, and in the salvability of all men what 
ever their character, his certain assurance that 
he was Christ s servant and the appointed bearer 
of His saving message to the lost, and his calm, 
unshaken trust that the God whom he served was 
watching over and protecting him in the midst of 
all exposure and peril, and that he would fulfil 
His every recorded promise, and would not per 
mit His word to return to Him void. Such are 
the precious glimpses of the inner life and spirit 
of the author which the book gives to us. His 
chapters are not simply parts of an outward ex 
perience. Without intending it, he has written 
into them much of his inner biography, and this 
is what gives to them their intense interest and 
charm, and their power of appeal to the reader. 

As Dr. Bunker, who is now laid aside by 
physical infirmity from further activity in the 
mission field, patiently awaits the Master s sum 
mons to his rich reward on high, may this work 
be to many readers in the home-land an irresisti 
ble call to a larger service for the coming of 
Christ s kingdom in all the world, and a more 



Introduction 9 

vitalising faith in the sure promises of God, 
who has declared, " I will give to thee the 
heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost 
parts of the earth for thy possession," and " The 
kingdoms of this world shall become the king 
doms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He 
shall reign for ever and ever." 

HENRY M. KING. 
PROVIDENCE, March, 1910. 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER PACK 

I. EXPLORATION OF LOIKAW MISSION . . 15 

II. EXPLORATION CONTINUED .... 28 

III. FOUNDING LOIKAW MISSION ... 38 

IV. THE FIRST CHRISTMAS IN LOIKAW MISSION . 53 
V. STORIES OF KAREN CHILD-LIFE ... 60 

VI. K SURDO 77 

VII. ENCOUNTERS WITH WILD BEASTS AND SER 
PENTS 85 

VIII. STORY OF THE YAHDO CHAPEL 99 

IX. THIRTEEN WITCHES 114 

X. PERILS AND PLEASURES . . . .123 

XI. THE MIRACLE OF SENITE . . . .132 

XII. PROVIDENTIAL CARE 147 

XIII. THE MAGIC DOUGHNUT . . . .160 

XIV. A NOTABLE MISSIONARY JOURNEY . . 163 
XV. THE GOSPEL AND THE SAVAGE BRECS . . 187 

XVI. How WE CAPTURED THE MYANGYOUNG 

PONGYI 199 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

FACING 
PAGE 

MOUNG LAY AND FAMILY .... Title 

ALTAR FOR SACRIFICE 18 

THE RED KAREN VILLAGE OF KELYA 18 
THE FIRST CONVERTS FROM THE LOIKAW MIS 
SION 34 

MISSION HOUSE, LOIKAW 44 

THE MARY LOVE CHAPEL 56 

SCHOOL CHILDREN 68 

A KAREN VILLAGE IN THE HILLS ... 68 

SAU LEE, BREC MISSIONARY 108 

TAH DEE, YAHDO PASTOR 108 

RED KAREN WOMAN 128 

RED KAREN GRANDMOTHER 128 

LA QUAI, KAREN EVANGELIST . . . .150 

A BUDDHIST PONGYI 150 

HEATHEN VISITORS, MOUNTAIN KARENS . . 166 

NATIVE CARRIERS WITH MISSIONARY OUTFIT . 174 

HEATHEN WOMEN 196 



EXPLORATION OF THE LOIKAW MISSION 

IN the beginning of the year 1866 the writer, 
with his wife, landed in Burma for mis 
sionary work. He was designated to the 
Red Karens, or Karenni tribe, then a practically 
unknown people. Having acquired his mission 
ary knowledge largely from Wayland s " Life of 
Dr. Judson," he settled down to a life work 
among the frontier tribes of Burma. Though 
ultimately changed to the Karens of Toungoo, 
our first love for the Red Karens was not for 
gotten. Through long years of labour for the 
Karen tribes about Toungoo, we never ceased to 
pray and plan for the good of our first love. 
So, late in the year 1868, an opportunity arising, 
Dr. Vinton, of the Rangoon Karen Mission, and 
myself planned a survey of the Red Karen coun 
try. This was the beginning of the work which 
finally took shape in the Loikaw Mission. The 
15 



1 6 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

journey was, at the time, regarded as specially 
hazardous, since it was undertaken among un 
known, wild, and savage tribes. The country 
was also reported to be in the throes of feudal 
warfare. It was, therefore, with some misgiv 
ings that we set out from Shwaygeen, with three 
elephants and a large company of followers (na 
tive pastors and servants), for this unknown 
land. 

Our course for the first few days was directly 
eastward, toward the Salwen River, through 
dense forests and jungle, inhabited by wild tribes 
of Karens. Four days brought us to the town 
of Papoon, on the Yoonzalen River. Here were 
the headquarters of the district magistrate, under 
the English government. We found here, also, 
a few Karen Christians. 

The remaining journey must be pursued 
through an absolutely unknown country, lying 
along the Salwen River, and extending hundreds 
of miles to the north. This region included the 
Karenni tribes, which we had undertaken to 
visit. Refitting our expedition at Papoon, we 
sought guides to conduct us through the coun 
try, but without success; for the people were in 
great fear of the savages, and naturally the most 



Exploration of the Loikaw Mission 17 

dreadful calamities were predicted, if we should 
persist in our purpose. For not only was the 
country unknown and poorly mapped, but it was 
peopled by numerous tribes of Karens which, al 
though of one common stock, were at constant 
feudal warfare with one another, and especially 
suspicious of strangers. However, gathering all 
possible information of the country, we were 
able, with the aid of the rough maps we had se 
cured, and some astronomical instruments, to set 
out hopefully. On the second day we saw signs 
of war in demolished houses, ruined villages, and 
obstructed roads. Though we were following a 
road which in times of peace was travelled by 
large companies of traders, yet for several days 
we met no one. A great fear seemed to reign 
over the whole land. 

The third day we found our way obstructed 
with bamboo spikes, arranged to prevent travel 
lers passing to and fro. These spikes were a 
cruel weapon, about a foot long, their points 
hardened in fire, and so planted as to be invisi 
ble. One of our bearers was badly injured by 
them. 

Dr. Vinton took careful observations for lati 
tude and longitude daily, and on the fourth day 



1 8 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

by these aids we reached the banks of the Salwen 
River in the heart of the disturbed district. Here 
we found a large village entirely deserted, 
though the houses were uninjured, and the fruit 
trees in full bearing. In a kyoung, a priest s 
house, we found a Shan manuscript in good 
preservation, which we took with us. 

Being in need of supplies, and also for the 
purpose of exploring the country, we camped 
on the bank of the Salwen at the mouth of a 
large brook flowing down from the westward 
mountains. The same silence and absence of in 
habitants marked this delightful spot, and the 
whole face of the country, though abounding in 
fruits, wild honey, and a variety of wild animals, 
appeared to have been deserted for months. We 
pitched our camp in the strongest possible posi 
tion, to withstand attacks from probable bands 
of robbers, and settled down to await our sup 
plies of rice. While waiting, we passed the 
time in hunting game for food. One day Dr. 
Vinton and myself separated, circling through 
the forest, and finally both came down to the 
main road. As I drew near I heard a shout 
from my companion : " I have been taken pris 
oner. Come to my help." But as this was laugh- 



Exploration of the Loikaw Mission 19 

ingly spoken, I knew the case could not be seri 
ous. Coming in -sight, I saw him surrounded by 
a band of as savage-looking men as I ever 
saw. They had all the marks of freebooters. 
Yet it was very soon manifest to me, how 
ever, that Dr. Vinton, instead of being taken 
prisoner, had taken the whole company captive. 
His perfect knowledge of the language and of 
native customs, and his remarkable power of 
story-telling, with his strong personality, had 
already woven its spell round them, and we 
soon had the whole band in camp. Our purpose 
was not only to keep them from doing harm, 
but also to learn all we could about the coun 
try, and to impress upon them the fact that 
we were messengers of the living God, seeking 
only their good. They said, " How can you find 
your way through this wilderness without 
guides ? " and we pointed to our surveying in 
struments, which seemed to fill them with awe, 
and answered, " These are our guides." This 
greatly increased their surprise, which became 
overwhelming when we bade them listen to the 
talking of our large chronometer. After this 
exhibition, they kept at a respectful distance 
from these instruments and held frequent dis- 



20 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

cussions in which it became evident by their ges 
tures that it was of these they were talking. 
That night we assigned them quarters where 
they could have the least possible advantage over 
us. But when these wild men joined us, by 
invitation, at our evening worship, and saw the 
reverent attitude of our Karen Christians, and 
listened to their sweet singing, such as they had 
never heard, and our worship had closed with 
a petition to the God who cares for His children, 
the effect upon them was such that we no longer 
distrusted them. 

On the morrow, with our stranger visitors for 
guides, and with full supplies of food, we set out 
for the capital of Western Karenni, several days 
journey to the north. Our guests, who had be 
come quite companionable, gave us abundant in 
formation about our journey and about the state 
of the country. 

As we passed through a deserted village, we 
found tamarind trees in full fruit. The acid 
of this fruit is very grateful when travelling. In 
a moment packs were thrown off, guns leaned 
against trees, and our followers were in the trees 
gathering fruit to take with them. This seem 
ing recklessness excited the amazement of our 



Exploration of the Loikaw Mission 21 

visitors, who said : " You surprise us exceed 
ingly in a place like this, where we dare not 
travel alone, or lay aside our weapons for a 
moment; but you people throw them aside as 
though there were no bad men about, and seem 
to be entirely without fear." Dr. Vinton im 
proved this incident to impress upon them again 
the watchful care of the God we served. 

Some miles ahead our new friends separated 
from us, taking the road to the right, which led 
to Eastern Karenni, while we pursued our way 
to the left, directly north. The road was now 
plain before us, and our progress rapid. In two 
days travel we began to see signs of the in 
habitants of the land. Tillers of the soil were 
going to their fields in groups of two and three, 
all fully armed. We were entering a country 
where the spirit of evil had supreme sway, as 
was evident on every hand. At every branch 
ing road were altars built to the evil spirits, on 
which offerings were exposed. Small huts, also, 
were built on rising knolls to propitiate the spirits 
of the fields, and to insure good crops. The 
country was largely cleared, the inhabitants nu 
merous, signs of labour multiplied, and interest 
increased as we advanced. 



22 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

We seemed a small force to accomplish our 
object, and indeed we were merely the forerun 
ners of the Lord s army, advancing to the de 
liverance of those who had long been under the 
destroying bondage of Satan ; and this conviction 
filled us with a holy enthusiasm. Messengers 
had been sent to notify Koontee, the chief ruler 
of the Western Karenni, of our approach, and 
about noon on the fourth day we saw a great 
company of natives grouped on the top of a high 
hill, up which we were advancing. As we came 
in sight, we were welcomed by a heavy discharge 
of native firearms, the beating of tom-toms, and 
the blare of trumpets. 

Koontee was an old man of kindly look, and 
he extended to us a hearty welcome. He said 
he had long looked for our coming, that he had 
heard of the gospel we proclaimed, and that he 
eagerly desired schools for his people. After a 
brief conversation, he took the lead toward his 
chief village, about two miles distant. We were 
escorted by an immense- crowd of noisy natives, 
who expressed their delight by shouts, mimic 
warfare, dancing, and other childish manifesta 
tions. Reaching his village, we were assigned 
the deserted house of a carpenter. It was clean 



Exploration of the Loikaw Mission 23 

and ample for our needs. It was a large village 
of seven or eight hundred houses, well built, 
and for the most part cleanly. Here we spent 
a week preaching and teaching. The old chief, 
a descendant of a long line of reigning chiefs, 
was most cordial. He said, " My father loved 
this way, of which a missionary told him, who 
spent only a brief time here." [He had refer 
ence, doubtless, to Dr. Mason, who made a hasty 
tour there years before.] He further said, " I 
wish to have my children acquainted with 
books." He knew very little of the gospel, but 
seemed anxious to know more. He was sup 
posed to be the ruler of sixty thousand people, 
or more. 

During our stay, the singing of our band of 
Karen Christians had a marked effect upon the 
young people, and several classes were formed 
for the study of the Karen alphabet, and for 
learning to sing. One young man, named 
Ngapah, connected with the reigning family, was 
so impressed that he resolved to accompany us 
back to Toungoo to pursue a course of study. 
He became the first convert to Christ among the 
Red Karens, and ultimately preached the good 
news among his own people. He thus proved 



24 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

to be the first fruit of the subsequent Loikaw 
Mission. 

While the early work among the Red Karens 
was not so fruitful as in some other Karen tribes, 
yet some rare jewels of Christian devotion were 
won among the common people. The first of 
these was Ngapah, just mentioned. The Holy 
Spirit wrought in him a miracle of grace, pro 
ducing one of the most conspicuous Christian 
characters in all the Toungoo Mission. He was 
a conscientious, faithful, intelligent servant of 
the Lord Jesus. He had ever the good of his 
people at heart, and their salvation was the su 
preme effort of his life. And his labours for 
them were successful. Doubtless, his name will 
stand high on the roll of the faithful in the 
heavenly land. 

Our return to Toungoo was directly westward 
over the successive ranges of intervening moun 
tains, and the journey was full of adventure, 
spiced with not a little danger. The tribes en 
countered were semi-hostile, and did what they 
could to block our way. But by careful watch 
ing, both night and day, we broke through op 
position and safely reached home. 

On the first day of the return trip, as we 



Exploration of the Loikaw Mission 25 

reached the top of a mountain, on which a large 
Red Karen village was built, the confusion 
among the people was so great we at first 
thought our progress was being opposed. The 
villagers seemed wild with excitement. The 
elephants and ponies, and still more the white 
strangers, seemed to stimulate their curiosity to 
a wild degree. They rushed upon us, clapped 
their arms about us, and shouted in their excite 
ment. We soon found, however, that it was only 
the excitement of curiosity; and when we asked 
for water and a place to camp, they were full 
of cordial hospitality. In gathering wood for a 
fire, Dr. Vinton approached a large tree and be 
gan to gather the dead limbs beneath it, when 
the people rushed upon him with loud exclama 
tions of horror. An explanation showed the tree 
to be the home of a powerful nat, or evil spirit, 
who would slay those who approached him. An 
unusual opportunity was thus given us to teach 
these people about the mighty God, of whom 
they now heard for the first time. And as we 
took all our wood from this tree without re 
ceiving personal harm, they seemed convinced of 
their error. The afternoon was passed in cor 
dial intercourse, and the next day we departed 



26 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

with mutual expressions of esteem. The chief 
of the village proved this by following us till 
noon, and by restoring a large knife which one 
of his subjects had appropriated. 

One scene remains fixed in memory as mark 
ing the strenuous character of the opposition to 
our progress. All one day we had been march 
ing, clearing the road as we went, in which work 
an intelligent elephant bore a large part by re 
moving trees which the natives had felled across 
the road to impede our march. Drawing near a 
native village, from which much of the opposi 
tion had arisen, we saw the people gathered in 
apparently hostile array on a hill-top. Our ele 
phant made quick work in clearing out the fallen 
trees in front, when, having put our caravan in 
compact form, we marched up the hill in close 
order. Well do we remember Dr. Vinton lead 
ing the caravan, and as we approached the com 
pact mass on the hill-top, he shouted, " Make 
way, make way, that the children of the mighty 
God may pass ! " As he called out in English, 
the savages were astonished by the cry, and so 
gave way, and the three elephants and several 
ponies with native bearers and servants all filed 
through in compact array, while the two mis- 



Exploration of the Loikaw Mission 27 

sionaries stood on either side and guarded them 
as they passed. 

A few more days brought us in safety to 
Toungoo. This proved to be the opening jour 
ney for founding the future mission at Loikaw. 
On this visit a native missionary by the name 
of S Aw was appointed to the Red Karens, and 
took up his residence at Kelya, the capital of the 
western province. He was a man of great de 
votion and faith. His whole family (wife and 
two children) had been stolen by this people 
when he was pastor on the Toungoo frontier, 
some years before. This cruel treatment, how 
ever, slackened not his devotion to the Red 
Karens. For many years he consecrated all his 
powers to their good and salvation. He would 
have been a notable worker in any land. It was 
not until worn out by years of lone service in 
Kelya that he returned to Toungoo, where he 
died. 



II 

EXPLORATION CONTINUED 

IT should be stated that in those days the vil 
lage of Loikaw was without importance, but 
acquired some note when the English gov 
ernment, in settling the Southern Shan States, 
chose it for a military post, thus making it a 
post town. It is situated on the northern bound 
ary of the Karenni States, and on a small river 
running south from Eagle Lake. South of it 
were the Eastern and Western Karenni States, 
to the southwest were the Brec tribes, while on 
the west several minor tribes of Karens were lo 
cated. Then northwest of Loikaw was the 
strong and vigorous tribe of Padong Karens, and 
also the peculiarly peaceable and teachable tribe 
called the Goung Does. The Shans and Tong- 
thoos and some other races dwelt on the north. 
All these combined to form the Loikaw Mission. 
Some four years after S Aw was located as 
missionary in Western Karenni, a second expe- 
28 



Exploration Continued 29 

dition in the interests of the work was under 
taken from Toungoo. It was proposed to cross 
the mountains from Toungoo directly eastward 
to Karenni, a distance of ten or twelve days 
journey. 

This long journey being regarded as hazard 
ous for a single missionary, Rev. Norman Har 
ris, of Shwaygeen, joined the company. He was 
better known among us younger missionaries as 
" Father Harris," and to us there was no one 
in all Burma who better sustained this charac 
ter. His round face, illumined by the light 
which comes from strong faith in God, still 
shines in our memories. With such a counsellor 
and helper, we felt strong for the journey. We 
were also strengthened by the presence of S Aw, 
the Red Karen missionary, and Ngapah, the first 
convert from that people. 

Early on the I2th of December, 1871, we set 
out from Toungoo with our little company. The 
first night we were drenched with rain, and the 
mountain-sides became so slippery that our prog 
ress was very slow. Finally we left our two 
elephants and got Karen bearers, who took our 
goods in conical baskets on their backs, this 
change enabling us to travel more rapidly. On 



30 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

the 2 ist of December we reached the capital of 
Western Karenni. The reigning chief was ab 
sent, settling political questions among his 
people. 

We were quartered in a large and commodious 
building, but it was cursed in the eyes of the 
people, because " its former owner had the power 
to destroy life by magic." This superstition 
holds sway among this people, and many are con 
demned to death only because they are regarded 
as witches or wizards, able to destroy life. The 
reader will note that the " Salem witchcraft " has 
changed its location. The act of quartering us 
in a place which had been cursed did not promise 
a cordial reception ! The people would naturally 
be deterred from visiting us until they should 
see that we remained unharmed. This becoming 
manifest, they resorted to us in increasing num 
bers. They also listened with growing respect 
to our preaching. The children, especially, be 
came interested in the singing of the young men 
who accompanied us, and we soon had a fine 
school in our quarters. Some were eagerly 
studying the "ABC" of the Karen language, 
and others were learning to sing the Karen 
hymns. Thus our days were full of work. 



Exploration Continued 31 

At the service held on the first Sunday in this 
village a large number assembled in the house, 
but more sat outside; for the fear of the evil 
spirits had not yet worn off. 

Two days before our departure, Koontee, the 
ruling chief, returned and greeted us with great 
cordiality. He gave us every encouragement 
possible to appoint teachers in his village and 
to establish schools. Also a number of young 
men and women declared their intention of re 
turning with us to Toungoo to enter the school 
there. Earnest consultations of the omens by 
the people, as to the safety of their journey, took 
place. This consisted in the inspection of the 
thigh bones of a fowl; which was merely the 
old superstition of divination as practised by 
most heathen nations. 

On the night of our departure there was much 
excitement among the young people, opposed in 
many cases by their elders, in deciding whether 
they would go to Toungoo, or remain at home. 
On the 27th of December we arose at midnight 
to prepare for the homeward journey. It was 
a beautiful moonlight night, and, as we filed out 
of the village, we were escorted by the old chief, 
who exhorted us : " Do not forget my people. 



32 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

They are very ignorant and superstitious. Come 
again, and bring us the white book." We found 
that several slaves had followed us. Altogether 
we had a formidable company of those who had 
determined to leave their darkness and to seek 
the true light. 

Our journey home was rapid; but the jungle 
fever prostrated both Father Harris and myself. 
Climbing a high mountain,, myself in the lead, 
I heard a groan and a fall. Glancing back, I 
saw Father Harris great form prostrate, his 
head down the slope of the mountain-side. He 
had fainted from his fever. 

On the 3d of January we reached home 
from one of the most successful missionary tours 
we ever made. This gave a great impetus to 
the gospel among the young people of Karenni, 
and they began to come to our school in groups 
of two or three in subsequent years. They 
readily assimilated with other Karens in school 
duties, and rapidly acquired the Karen dialect 
taught in the school. Also, on receiving religious 
instruction, they eagerly embraced the Christian 
faith, and joined the school church. In a decade 
and a half, upwards of eighty became followers 
of our Lord, and many of the young men became 



Exploration Continued 33 

devoted and zealous preachers of the gospel. 
Thus was the work of the coming Loikaw Mis 
sion rapidly advancing, though we did not realise 
the fact. 

Several years followed, and a third tour was 
planned. In this we were joined by Rev. Dr. 
Rose and his friend, Mr. McCall, from Ran 
goon. Much knowledge of Karenni had now 
been gained. In fact, the whole country be 
tween the Toungoo Valley and the Salwen River 
had been opened up to missionary effort. Ow 
ing to the peculiarly prepared condition of the 
Karens for the reception of the gospel, through 
their established traditions, all this wild terri 
tory, with its many Karen tribes, became exceed 
ingly attractive to missionary workers; for most 
of the tribes readily responded to Christian 
teaching. Hence this expedition was undertaken 
with high hopes. A rapid journey across the 
mountains brought us again to Kelya. We found 
that great progress had been made among the 
people. The increase of religious knowledge was 
apparent everywhere. This was due to the 
faithful labour of S Aw and his associates, in 
cluding the many young men educated in Toun 
goo, who had returned to their own country. 



34 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

Koontee, the chief of Western Karenni, had 
died; but his successor, Koonsaw, was equally 
cordial. Indeed, he gave strong evidence of 
having embraced Christ by faith as his Saviour. 
In proof of his good will, on one occasion he 
took from his side a silver-mounted sword, one 
of the tokens of his authority, and gave it to 
the missionary with an earnest exhortation that 
he continue the work for the education of his 
people. This had been enjoined upon him by 
his father, Koontee, and he had promised to 
effect all he could in this line. 

After spending a delightful week or more in 
Kelya, we recrossed the watershed towards 
Toungoo, followed by numbers of young men 
and women going to Toungoo for study. In 
the meantime, Ngapah had grown to be a 
mature Christian, and was most useful in the 
mission. 

We must not omit an interesting incident of 
this tour. One morning we were entering a 
pass, toward the top of the highest range", when 
a strong home feeling came over us. Glancing 
around, we saw, to our surprise and joy, what 
we had never seen, save in New England, mul 
titudes of dandelions and both white and blue 




THE FIRST CONVERTS FROM THE LOIKAW MISSION 



Exploration Continued 35 

violets in full bloom. Their bright, laughing 
eyes filled us with new inspiration and courage 
for our work. For they seemed to presage the 
time when all that dark, sin-cursed land would 
come as fully under the sway of our Redeemer 
as the most evangelised parts of New England. 
Nay more, they seemed bright omens of that 
glorious day when " the kingdoms of this world 
shall become the Kingdoms of our Lord, and of 
His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and 
ever." 

As we climbed the mountains it became very 
cold, and one morning, emerging from our tent, 
we found the ground white with frost; and a 
little further on we broke thin ice from a pool 
of water. This was a rare treat for the na 
tives, who, living on the plains, had never seen 
such sights, nor felt the bracing tonic of such 
atmosphere. 

As we neared our destination, we became op 
pressed with the question as to how we were 
to meet the expense of supporting the youths 
who were urgently seeking an education at our 
Toungoo school. So impressed was Dr. Rose 
with the importance of this work that he offered 
to meet the need by gathering funds in Rangoon. 



36 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

This promise he fulfilled, his friends generously 
responding to his call for help. 

From this time onward the work among the 
border tribes was pursued with all the resources 
that the mission could command. Repeated tours 
were made among Padoungs and Northern 
Karen tribes. The native missionaries were very 
zealous in their travels, and did good work. As 
a result, churches were established among the 
Brecs, the Padoungs, and other tribes. 

Twenty-five or thirty miles northwest of 
Kelya there was founded a flourishing little 
church at the village of Daushee-I. This was 
largely accomplished through the instrumentality 
of one of nature s noblemen, named Tu-Ri, whom 
God had raised up from the heathen. He was a 
rare Christian character, of a strong personality, 
and of large executive ability. He accepted the 
teachings of Christ with his whole heart, and 
reserved neither strength nor property in pro 
moting the work in connection with the native 
missionaries at Daushee-I. The church grew 
rapidly, a good school was established and main 
tained, and through the beneficence of Deacon 
Walter L. Clark, of Providence, R. L, a fine 
board chapel was erected, which provided a home 



Exploration Continued 37 

for the missionaries also, who subsequently oc 
cupied the field. 

During several subsequent years, much was 
accomplished by the missionaries in travelling 
through all the region embraced in the Loikaw 
field. One season, accompanied by Dr. J. N. 
Gushing, we travelled with an English company 
of troops under command of Colonel Sar- 
torious, going through all the Southern Shan 
States. This tour extended also into Eastern 
Karenni and other neighbouring States. In this 
expedition the best of relations were established 
with the native chiefs, and large missionary in 
terests projected. As the result of this tour, 
politically, the little village of Loikaw, composed 
of Shans, Burmans, and Eastern Karennies, was 
chosen as a military station for the Southern 
Shan States, thereby largely increasing its influ 
ence on the surrounding country. 

During these years the knowledge of the gos 
pel had been scattered far and wide throughout 
these numerous tribes. The results in numbers 
baptised were comparatively small; but mani 
festly the whole region was well prepared for 
a great work of ingathering. 



Ill 

FOUNDING OF THE LOIKAW MISSION 

IN the autumn of 1899, God, in His provi 
dence, seemed to show that the set time 
had come to establish the Loikaw Mission. 
We give a brief resume of the conditions in the 
Toungoo hills, pointing to this event. Eastward 
from Toungoo City, the gospel of the Lord Jesus 
had been diligently proclaimed throughout Eng 
lish territory back to the watershed range be 
tween Toungoo Valley and the Salwen River. It 
had overflowed this boundary into the savage 
Brec country, and conquered this wild tribe. The 
evangelist had passed around to the south of this 
country earlier in its history, had entered West 
ern Karenni, and had wrought a great revolu 
tion in the sentiment of the people towards 
Christianity. Native workers had been stationed 
in Eastern Karenni, a State larger than the 
Western, and good had been wrought. Loikaw 
was on the extreme northern limit of this State. 
38 



Founding of the Loikaw Mission 39 

The gospel also had been proclaimed from 
Toungoo City north and northeastward to the 
boundary of the English territory in both direc 
tions. Four days journey northeast from Toun 
goo was our Christian stronghold in that direc 
tion. Having captured Yahdo, as elsewhere 
narrated, the gospel forces fell upon Senite, in 
the Padoung country, and captured it for our 
Lord. True to its genius, the gospel spread to 
the region around Senite, and crystallised in a 
large village, on the way to Karenni, under a 
faithful evangelist named Asoung, which later 
developed into a large and thrifty church. 

The route passing through Senite and the 
Padoung country proved the most available one 
to Karenni. The evangelists were accustomed 
to take this to and from that country, preaching 
as they travelled. 

A strong man, Tu-Ri (before mentioned), 
moved from Yahdo to a village on the corners 
of three Southern Shan States, two of them be 
ing the Red Karen and Padoung States. This 
village, Daushee-I, was thirteen miles southwest 
from Loikaw. 

In the autumn of 1899, while the writer was 
on furlough in America, three letters from as 



40 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

many individuals, written at about the same time, 
but quite independent each of the other, were 
received in Boston. These letters were of the 
utmost importance, in that they urged a speedy 
appointment of a responsible missionary for this 
region. They represented the thirst for Chris 
tian education as having grown to such an ex 
tent among the Eastern Karens that many had 
determined to secure this from any who would 
give it to them. Their first choice was teachers 
from the Society which had been ministering 
to them. Hence their appeal to the American 
Baptist Missionary Union for a permanent 
teacher. If the Missionary Union would send 
this help, they were content. Otherwise they 
would apply to other missionary bodies. This 
meant the Ritualists, with all their evils. 

To this appeal the reply of the Missionary 
Union was that, if the writer would return to 
Burma and take up this work, the Society 
would support him. Rev. Truman Johnson, 
M.D., who had already proved himself a true 
reproduction of Luke, " the beloved physician," 
in a long term of service in the Toungoo Mis 
sion, was at home on furlough at this time. It 
was suggested that he might be willing to join 



Founding of the Loikaw Mission 41 

the new mission. This he was quick to do, at 
the request of the Society. The Secretaries at 
the rooms in Boston pronounced this an " ideal 
arrangement." 

About the first of the year 1900, we gathered 
our supplies, and, on reaching Burma, set out 
on the long journey over the Shan Mountains 
for Loikaw, following the Burma Railway from 
Toungoo to Thazi, a hundred miles or more. At 
Thazi we shipped our goods in carts to be taken 
across the mountains over the great government 
road, then in process of construction. This was 
the only route by which goods could be taken 
to Loikaw, yet it took us a long way to the 
north of our destination. Crossing the Shan 
Mountains, we entered upon the great Shan 
Plateau, where we turned south to Fort Sted- 
man, on the beautiful Ingle Lake. Here we took 
boats down the Loikaw River, which flowed 
south from Ingle Lake. The whole journey con 
sumed about thirteen days. 

We reached Loikaw the morning of January 
17, 1900. The prospect from the first was de 
pressing. A strong wind from the south blew 
clouds of dust over the village, which we found 
to be largely composed of Shans, Burmans, and 



42 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

East Indians. Hardly a shade-tree relieved the- 
dull landscape. Our goods were hustled on 
shore by our boatmen, and we sat down on our 
boxes, wondering what we should next do. We 
were completely surrounded by an unsympa 
thetic, if not a hostile, crowd. But the God of 
missions did not keep us long in suspense; for, 
as we sat planning our next move, we saw nine 
strong young men rapidly approaching us, whom 
we soon recognised as belonging to the Yahdo 
church over the mountains. Without appoint 
ment of any kind, or a knowledge of our com 
ing, except by rumour, they appeared just at the 
time most needed. This seemed to us a special 
act of Providence in our behalf, and so we took 
courage. We found, on enquiry, that there was 
a Karen clerk in the government house who was 
a Christian from Bassein. On application to him 
we were cordially welcomed into his house. Our 
nine Yahdo volunteers soon had our goods safely 
piled under his house. Thus at rest for a time, 
we gave ourselves to earnest prayer for Divine 
guidance in what we had long felt to be an im 
portant step for the spread of the Kingdom of 
God in that part of Burma. While engaged in 
prayer, Tu-Ri, the disciple of Daushee-I, ap- 



Founding of the Loikaw Mission 43 

peared with smiling face, leading a large body 
of his followers from that village for whatever 
help they could render us. 

On looking about Loikaw, we saw nothing to 
recommend it as a central missionary station, 
save that it had been made a postal town. We 
also found that strong opposition to the found 
ing of the mission had been organised, led by 
the only European government official in the 
place, and an autocrat in his position. He pos 
sessed supreme power as a local officer. The 
chiefs of the Southern Shan States, though 
nominally independent, were completely under 
his control, through fear of his power over them. 
We found that, though they had been friendly 
to us for years, and had united in the call for 
our coming, they were now silenced through 
dread of this English officer. Moreover, a Ro 
man Catholic Society, that had everything to 
gain, as they thought, by keeping us out of the 
country, had a large and strange influence over 
this officer. He had the power of bestowing or 
withholding favour. He could hinder us from 
securing land for mission purposes from the 
tribal governors. Just here Tu-Ri came forward 
with the offer of land and other help to establish 



44 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

our mission near his village. He had no fear 
of the English political officer. We ought to say 
here that this opposition on the part of an official 
was exceptional. We have great pleasure in tes 
tifying to the uniform courtesy and helpfulness 
of the English officials in Burma during thirty 
years experience. This helpfulness was exem 
plified in the Lieutenant-Governor s orders in the 
present case, as related further on. 

In consultation with Tu-Ri, the question as to 
our headquarters was narrowed to three sta 
tions Loikaw, Nwe Doung, about eight miles 
below Loikaw, both being situated on the east 
side of the Karenni Valley, and the little village 
of Daushee-I. Under the escort of Tu-Ri and 
his followers, after three days study of Loikaw 
as a situation, we set out for Nwe Doung. Here 
we were received in the most friendly manner, 
but could find no healthful place for a mission 
dwelling. We then crossed the valley to Dau 
shee-I. Here we found conditions most favour 
able for our purpose ; as we would be located on 
the corners of three Southern Shan States, and 
be central for all our work. 

We left Toungoo with a large purpose in 
mind, feeling we were to plan a work for many 



Founding of the Loikaw Mission 45 

years, and for a large population, consisting of 
many tribes, who spoke different dialects. With 
this purpose in view, we set about the study of 
our present situation with much prayer for Di 
vine guidance. Our good doctor pronounced in 
favour of the western side of the valley, on 
grounds of health. The wind in the rainy season 
blew down from the mountain ranges, making 
the air pure and comparatively free from ma 
laria. It was also on the direct route to Toun- 
goo, and only four days distant from Yahdo, the 
halfway station to that city. Moreover, it was 
in the midst of the population whom we hoped 
to win to Christ. Villages of the Padoung tribe, 
Eastern and Western Karenni, and the Brec na 
tions were near at hand, or within easy access 
at any season of the year. Other considerations 
added their weight in influencing our decision. 
The most powerful were the clear leading of 
Providence. For years previous to our advent, 
the little church had been organised, and more 
recently a fine large chapel had been erected, 
Deacon W. L. Clark, of the Broadway Church, 
Providence, R. L, meeting most of the expense. 
This would provide temporary quarters for us 
while erecting a permanent dwelling. The ease 



46 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

with which supplies could be brought from Toun- 
goo for our schools and for our support also 
had much weight; for the Loikaw Plain be 
came a bog during the rains, and very difficult 
of passage. The natives offering large help, both 
in money and labour, also had weight, for the 
financial support of the mission from home was 
yet small. Said Dr. Johnson, as we sat over 
looking the proposed site, " It truly looks as 
though the Holy Spirit had directed us to this 
spot." 

After further careful and prayerful considera 
tion of the whole matter, which involved grave 
interests, we settled on the hill above Daushee-I, 
which had been given us for this purpose, as 
the future site of the Loikaw Mission. We re 
tained the name Loikaw, as it was a postal 
town. 

The opposition of the British political officer 
to our settlement in the Southern Shan States, 
beginning with our arrival, increased in violence 
from week to week. He used all resources at 
his command to defeat our plans, to prejudice the 
natives against us, forbidding them to receive us 
and to grant lands for necessary buildings. The 
Karenni chiefs, who were particularly favour- 



Founding of the Loikaw Mission 47 

able to us, and who had joined in the appeal for 
our coming, were obliged to visit us secretly. His 
opposition culminated by inflicting fines upon 
those chiefs who had helped us, and ultimately 
by issuing a government paper, over his own 
official signature, ordering us to cease building 
and to withdraw from the land. 

But the hand of God was again revealed in our 
behalf. For the very same mail brought a tele 
gram from the chief officer of the English Gov 
ernment, in Burma, giving us permission to build 
wherever we might choose, and also ordering 
this political officer to cease his persecutions of 
the chiefs, because of help bestowed upon us. 
And he further ordered him to help us build 
our station. This stopped all open hindrance; 
yet this officer kept up secret opposition during 
the following months. This was specially 
shown against the native adherents of the mis 
sion. Yet our work went forward success 
fully and rapidly: the efforts of past years 
forming a good beginning for this new ad 
vance. The native evangelists were enthusias 
tic, and the people far and wide were cordial 
and ready to help, promising thatch for our new 
houses. Men brought the grass on the backs of 



48 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

oxen from long distances, while the women gath 
ered to weave it into thatch for house-roofing. 
The men also helped in carrying timber, and in 
such other work as their time would allow. We 
brought sawed teak timber from Loikaw on 
carts, and also felled trees in the near forests, 
sawing them up by hand, thus securing lumber 
for our dormitory and dwelling-house. The nec 
essary hardware and windows we brought from 
Rangoon on our trip up to Loikaw. In one hun 
dred and forty-nine days we were able to move 
from the chapel into our mission house. This 
speedy result was made possible by the fine busi 
ness capacity and architectural skill of Dr. John 
son, who pushed the work vigorously against 
seemingly overwhelming obstacles. 

Vegetable gardens were laid out, fenced, and 
planted with seeds brought from America. In 
like manner flower gardens were planted, thus 
providing in anticipation edibles and flowers 
which would remind us of our dear New Eng 
land, or present a homelikeness to cheer us in 
lonely hours. Then the cocoanut palm stood side 
by side with pines from the hills; pyramids of 
nasturtiums stood in the front yard, blessing us 
with their rich colours and perfume; fruits from 



Founding of the Loikaw Mission 49 

our garden rested upon our table, and our mate 
rial circumstances were all we could wish. 

One of the strongest elements in the success 
of the mission was the medical work of the " be 
loved physician." His hospital at first consisted 
of a deal box and a chair in the shadow of the 
Daushee-I chapel. Patients resorted to him 
from all parts of the country, some with horrible 
sicknesses, which he treated with the utmost pa 
tience and skill. With a suitable building and 
proper appliances, how much could this element 
of power have been increased. These mate 
rialised in due time, adding a mighty impulse to 
our work. 

Our spiritual work in like manner advanced 
with encouraging rapidity. The good will of the 
people, and the long years of Christian instruc 
tion they had received made them very suscep 
tible to the influence of the gospel. The little 
discouraged church of twelve members at Dau 
shee-I sprang into new life. There were fifty 
present at our first service in the Clark chapel, 
not including children. This attendance was 
maintained, and increased gradually. A Sunday 
school was organised at once, and also a day 
school. The whole atmosphere of the mission 



50 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

was one of joyous activity. The young people 
often broke out into song when about their work, 
and our hearts sang with them in joy and 
thanksgiving. Applications for teachers came to 
us from every quarter, which we supplied as 
rapidly as possible, until twenty villages were 
occupied. The results in 1903 were nineteen 
stations and churches in a population of be 
tween three thousand and four thousand. We 
had twenty-two preachers and teachers at work. 
In that year there were sixteen baptisms and one 
hundred and twelve church members. Two 
hundred and twenty-four were gathered in the 
schools, and the contributions of the natives for 
the year were over eight hundred and eighty 
rupees, or two hundred and ninety-four dollars. 
These results amply justified our expectations of 
a richer and more abundant harvest in the near 
future. 

At one time, in discussing ways and means 
with an officer of the Missionary Union, when 
the rapid successes gained in this mission were 
urged as a reason for a more generous support, 
he exclaimed, " Yes, but we did not expect this 
interest to assume so quickly the size and im 
portance of an established mission." 



Founding of the Loikaw Mission 5 1 

It was also feared by some friends of the 
mission that too large sums of money had been 
expended upon it to produce such results. But 
a careful comparison of the amounts expended 
on several old missions, and also for the found 
ing and support of six new missions in Burma 
for five years, beginning with 1899, shows that, 
per convert, much less sums had been expended 
on the Loikaw Mission during these years. 

Every condition seemed to promise abundant 
future harvests. Several had applied for bap 
tism from Kelya the old station among the 
Red Karens which S Aw had so long occupied; 
and notes of " harvest home " were heard from 
every quarter, when the writer s health broke 
down in May of the second year of the founding 
of the mission, and he was forced to retire per 
manently from the mission field. Every plant 
which God plants must flourish and bear fruit, 
and to Him be all the glory. 



IV 

THE FIRST CHRISTMAS IN LOIKAW MISSION 

A FADED list before us brings vividly to 
mind one of the pleasantest incidents of 
our whole missionary life. It was the 
day before Christmas. Dr. Truman Johnson 
and I had been working for nearly a year to 
establish the Loikaw Mission. We had encoun 
tered and overcome, by God s manifest help, 
great difficulties in this work. The site for the 
mission station was on that of an ancient city, 
and the streets, garden walls, and fruit trees 
were left. Our buildings were nearly completed, 
our mission school had begun its work of en 
lightenment, and many patients were coming to 
the hospital daily. Our vegetable and flower 
gardens were flourishing, reviving pleasant mem 
ories of home. Two mounds of nasturtiums in 
the flower garden were a blaze of colour, and a 
variety of home plants were likewise in bloom. 
The Loikaw Mission was in full operation, send- 
52 



First Christmas in Loikaw Mission 53 

ing its rays of gospel light into the surrounding 
gloom of heathenism. 

On the eve before Christmas, wearied by the 
labours of the day, I sat among the flowers, en 
joying the cool of the evening. The environ 
ment vividly suggested the homeland with its 
Christmas festivities. The strain of past months 
of labour and care for the moment rolled away, 
and pleasing home thoughts, whispered by the 
surrounding flowers, took their place. Half- 
regretfully I thought of our isolation in the far 
away mountains of Loikaw. No Christmas with 
home friends for us. Ah, how little could I 
realise the wonderful and glad surprise the God 
of missions was preparing for us! 

We were many days travel over high ranges 
of mountains, among the heathen Hill people. 
There was no settled transportation over these 
mountains, and our nearest post-office was thir 
teen miles distant. These facts shut off any hope 
of partaking in the home life of Christmas ; and 
with a feeling bordering on depression, as the 
shadows deepened, I retired to my room, lighted 
my lamp, and sat down to read. At about eight 
o clock the people returned from their evening 
worship. Hearing their excited voices in the 



54 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

room below, I began to realise that something 
unusual had occurred, and soon a Karen burst 
into my room, exclaiming, "Teacher, Moung 
Lay has returned, and has found your cases of 
goods from Rangoon, and there is also a box 
for you from America." Months before we had 
sent to Rangoon for supplies, and, owing to the 
long delay, we thought them lost, and had sent 
Moung Lay to look them up. He had been ab 
sent a week, but that box from America, 
what could it be? Oh, probably Mr. Phinney, 
of the Mission Press, had used an American box 
in which to pack our supplies. " Yes, teacher, 
we are sure the box is from America, and for 
you. We know from the marks on it." " Well, 
bring it up, and let us see what it is." Sure 
enough, it was a box from home. In a few mo 
ments several Karens brought in another, a 
larger one, and the room was soon rilled with 
heathen and Christian natives, all filled with 
curiosity to see what had come to their teachers 
from the fabulous land of plenty. Dr. Johnson, 
the beloved physician, also joined us, and we soon 
had the smaller box opened ; and out of it sprang 
Santa Glaus with as hearty a " Merry Christ 
mas " as ever was uttered in a Christian land. 



First Christmas in Loikaw Mission 55 

It was spoken by so many loving friends in 
package after package. " Why, doctor, it is 
full of Christmas presents, and to-morrow is 
Christmas Day. Here s a package for you right 
on top." 

Then the wonderful thing our God had done 
began to be realised by us. Only One with om 
niscient power could have so timed the arrival 
of the boxes that, after fourteen thousand 
miles travel, and months in carts and boats, 
over mountains and across lakes, subject to all 
the vicissitudes of uncertainty, those precious 
boxes should be placed before us in this far 
away corner of the earth, exactly on the night 
before Christmas, for which they were intended 
by the dear givers in the homeland! It was al 
most past belief. Yet there they were before 
us, and the natives all about, wild with delight 
as they saw the beautiful things unrolled before 
their eyes. A sacred light fell upon these gifts. 
They seemed to be from heaven, rather than 
from America. They were certainly God-given, 
as they were God-inspired. Surely, no one could 
have thought us weak, had they seen tears fall 
upon these tokens of friendship. Package after 
package, now one for the beloved physician, and 



56 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

then one for me, all so clean, so neatly folded 
and tied. The very strings and wrappings were 
of interest. Books, pictures framed and un- 
framed, towels and soap, napkins, beautiful 
vases for flowers, and candy, which made the 
natives smack their lips with delight. The list 
before me covers a full sheet of foolscap paper. 
With special joy we noticed how many of the 
gifts could be profitably used in our mission 
work. How could the donors conceive so well 
just what we needed? 

Here were books enough to make the begin 
ning of a mission library. We saw that our 
dear native Christians, so poor and needy, who 
had never seen anything so beautiful as the 
wonderful things coming out of those boxes, 
could share largely with us in our precious gifts. 
How rapidly were they learning the object- 
lesson of Christian love in their experiences of 
that evening. 

By midnight the floor, chairs, bed everything 
was covered with a Christmas glory. Under a 
hallowed spell of God s loving care we slept, 
only to awake to a new surprise in the morn 
ing ; for the largest of the three cases greeted us 
as we came from our rooms. In this was the 



First Christmas in Loikaw Mission 57 

wonderful Christmas cake from a church in New 
York. It had travelled its long journey without 
a break, so carefully was it packed. Its large, 
brown face, with the motto across its forehead, 
smiled at us a Merry Christmas of its own. 
Again we reviewed our gifts before a great crowd 
of natives. Again we took note of how for 
many days the native Christians could be 
blessed with this surplus of gifts ; for there were 
many things among them which met their needs, 
as if the donors had distinctly foreseen them. 
In fact, in the days following, it was pleasing to 
see the efforts at clean faces and hands, and the 
unsnarling of tangled hair, never before ac 
quainted with comb or brush. Company after 
company came from distant villages to see this 
strange and unheard-of exhibition. What new 
views of Christian fellowship were awakened in 
the minds and hearts of these native Christians, 
as they listened with open mouth to the story of 
the gifts, together with the love of the givers for 
Christ s work among the heathen. Especially 
did the timing of the arrival of the gifts, by the 
guiding hand of Providence, appeal to them and 
draw them towards a God so mindful of His 
children s happiness. 



58 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

But this list of the donors, as I scan it to 
day, it awakens in my heart the most hallowed 
memories. Here are friends who have been 
helpers in our mission work for thirty years and 
more. Some of them have finished their work 
and have gone to their reward; some have rip 
ened in age and yet dwell in the Beulah land, 
waiting the passage of the river; while others 
are in the prime of their usefulness. Dear 
brothers and sisters, do you think your mission 
aries can ever forget the years of help in loving 
gifts and helpful messages received by them 
through all these years? Much less, can God 
forget? Here their names are all recorded. 
They are from all over New England, and the 
Middle and Western States. Even the capital 
city of the nation has sent its token of interest. 

But we must not fail to notice the sweet and 
cheering messages enclosed in almost every pack 
age and book. There was never a sweeter exhi 
bition of love and loyalty to Jesus than these 
contained love for His cause everywhere, and 
specially for the lost heathen. How gladly we 
regarded it as an offering to our adorable Lord, 
and thankfully did we ascribe to Him the glory 
and praise. 



First Christmas in Loikaw Mission 59 

While we read over again with quickened 
heart-beats this now sacred list, our mind turns 
instinctively toward that devoted worker whom 
God used in this exhibition of his loving care. 
Her loyal heart, under God s direction, we be 
lieve, inspired this gracious act. Her hands 
packed those three cases so closely that not a 
thing was broken. She it was who sent them 
on their way, timed to reach us to the day and 
almost the hour. May our Father bless her, and 
all who shared in this glad Christmas in Loikaw, 
as do we and scores of native Christians. 

Such was the first Christmas celebration ever 
held in the Loikaw Mission of Burma. May this 
evidence of God s love be repeated in this mis 
sion many times to His own glory. 



V 

STORIES OF KAREN CHILD-LIFE 

WHEN, puffed up by the pride of race, 
we begin to think ourselves far above 
the less favoured, we need to be re 
minded of the fact that God " hath made of one 
blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the 
face of the earth," and that differences of race 
often result from environment. If the mental 
and moral characteristics of the uncivilised ex 
hibit a wide variety, it should not be forgotten 
that the highest civilisation has not obliterated 
similar varieties. Facts show that the white 
nations by no means monopolise the gifts of 
God s grace. Each nationality contributes some 
excellences of its own to the ultimate typical 
man. The term heathen is a misnomer. In the 
thought of the more intelligent natives of the 
East, where the gospel of Christ has been pro 
claimed, mankind is composed of only two 
classes, heathen and Christian, the former re- 
60 



Stories of Karen Child-Life 61 

jecting Christ and His gospel, while the latter 
humbly accept both. 

Having occasion to cross the Shan plateau, 
where the gospel had never been preached, we 
reached a village made up of Shans, Burmans, 
and Karens. There was a deserted kyoung 
(rest-house) near the bank of the stream up 
which we were going, and, being weary, I sat 
on its steps. It was early morning, and the 
scene before me reminded me of New Eng 
land. The grass-plot gently sloped toward the 
stream of clear, sparkling water, flowing from 
a lake whither we were going. The kyoung 
was in the foreground and the village extended 
backward up the slope. It was like the usual 
native villages, with many dilapidated bamboo 
houses. On the right was a wretched hovel of 
the usual style, of two stories, where the native 
children had gathered for play. The upper story 
had a veranda around it, which was reached 
by a bamboo ladder. As I sat listlessly watch 
ing the children, being very ill, a large dog be 
gan to bark at me. Directly one of the children, 
a little girl of eight or ten years, came down the 
ladder, picked up a stick, and drove the dog 
away. She was a heathen girl, absolutely ig- 



62 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

norant of the God we worship. I acknowledged 
her service with a bow. She seemed pleased, 
ran up the ladder, and again joined her com 
panions in their sports. 

As my attention had been drawn to her by 
her kind act, I continued watching the sports 
of the children with renewed interest. She 
seemed a bit restless and frequently came to the 
edge of the veranda to look at the stranger. 
Soon she took her younger sister by the hand, 
came down the ladder, and slowly approached 
me. This act specially impressed me. I was a 
stranger from a race she had seldom met, if 
ever, and it was inspiring to note her fearless 
ness. As she drew near, I thanked her in her 
own language for driving away the dog. I also 
took from my pocket a small Burman coin, 
and gave it to her. And lest her little sister 
should feel offended, that being my only coin, 
I gave her a banana. These slight presents filled 
them with joy. Turning about, they held them 
up for the inspection, as I supposed, of their 
mother; and immediately the whole village ran 
together about me. I entered into conversation 
with the elders. " Have you any schools ? Have 
you any teachers? Does a Buddhist priest live 



Stories of Karen Child-Life 63 

in your village ? " To all these questions they 
replied in the negative. When I asked them if 
they knew anything of the great God, who cre 
ated the heavens and the earth, again a nega 
tive answer was given. And then they asked: 
" Who is He? Where does He live? " And as 
I tried to tell them of His love, and the com 
ing of His Son, they plied me with questions 
which my limited knowledge of their language 
left me unable to answer satisfactorily. 

Meanwhile, I had cultivated the acquaint 
ance of my two young friends, who seemed to 
have assumed the proprietorship of the stranger, 
about whom they hung. In my efforts to ex 
plain the great question of God and His Son, I 
took out my watch, which excited much sur 
prise among them. One, on listening to its 
ticking, looked up with wide-eyed amazement, 
and asked in bated breath, " Is this your God ? " 
Unclasping the chain, I handed it to my little 
friend. An American child, most likely, would 
have reached out her hand for the treasure, and 
would have taken it, perhaps, with a " Thank 
you." Not so this little heathen girl. She 
stepped back, bowed very low, as an act of 
homage, and opened her little hand before me, 



64 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

signifying by the gesture that I might place the 
watch upon her open palm. Apparently, in her 
view, it would be impolite to take the watch 
directly from my hand. Her pleasure on re 
ceiving the watch was very marked, and her 
people crowded about her to inspect it and to 
listen to its " talk." She would not allow it to 
pass from her hands, but readily exhibited her 
treasure for inspection. In a few moments she 
returned the watch, in the act holding it in her 
clasped hands and touching her forehead with 
them, another sign of homage, after which she 
bowed low and opened her hands for me to take 
the watch. It was all so neatly and gracefully 
done as to quite win my heart, and to awaken 
the wish that such heathen customs might be 
introduced among children of my own land. 

We continued our conversation with the vil 
lagers, who were polite and respectful, still no 
ticing the two little girls, who kept hovering 
about us. Soon the older one came near and 
sat at my feet, looking up into my face to see 
if I approved her act. This surprised me, but 
her next move was more surprising; for she 
arose and seated herself at my side before all 
the people. This was as strange a thing to do, 



Stories of Karen Child-Life 65 

in the mind of the people, as it was for Queen 
Esther to enter into the presence of King 
Ahasuerus. The people looked on with alarm, 
as if expecting my anger at such boldness. I 
recognised her confidence by putting my arm 
around her and drawing her to my side, thus 
making a place for her sister, which she took. 
The whole company of villagers seemed im 
mensely pleased with this treatment of the chil 
dren. Now consider that there was not a Chris 
tian among them, nor any one who had probably 
ever heard of Jehovah until I had proclaimed 
Him in their hearing; yet their fellowship and 
approval were most marked ; and directly, as my 
boat and followers came up the river to the 
landing, they further manifested their fellow 
ship by following me to the boat, and by smil 
ing upon me as I embarked. It was a covered 
boat, and after waving them a farewell, I with 
drew from their sight, involved in deep thought. 
This pleasing experience had shown me the 
heart of the heathen. Somehow a refinement 
had grown up among them. These little chil 
dren showed this refinement in their training. 
By nature they were as beautiful as any children 
I ever saw. They were clean and well dressed, 



66 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

their hair was neatly arranged, and they showed 
a gentleness in movement and speech which was 
winsome. There was life and light in every ac 
tion, and yet they knew not even the name of 
the Lord of life and light. Glancing over this 
company, it was easy to mark the dividing-line 
between the innocence of childhood and the 
spiritual blindness of the adults. And this 
thought suggests the condition of the densely 
populated East, with its multitudes of children, 
as engaging and interesting as these, lacking only 
a knowledge of the Lord of glory to insure the 
transfer of their loveliness to old age, and so to 
fit them for the heavenly land. 

My boatmen pushed on up the river, and, as 
we were about to make a turn which would shut 
my new friends from view, I glanced back for 
a final sight of them. The villagers were slowly 
filing away from the river s bank, but my two 
little friends had followed after my boat a short 
distance, and soon they passed from sight. I 
know not whether any missionary has since 
reached them, or they ever again heard the 
blessed name of Jesus, the lover of children. 
Seeing before them the awful future of a heathen 
education and life, I said to myself : " Can it 



Stories of Karen Child-Life 67 

be possible that so many children in this land, 
so engaging, so graceful, so easily won as these, 
must continue to grow up, pass under the dense 
cloud of ignorance and superstition, and be lost 
forever ? " And many times since have I prayed 
that God would move His stewards in Christian 
lands to such liberality in the support of foreign 
missions that these millions of heathen children 
may not be left to perish in their spiritual night. 
One of the best ways to learn the inner life 
of any people is by the study of their children. 
They are usually a reproduction of their par 
ents, little men and women. This is as true 
among wild peoples as among the civilised. 
Journeying over the great military road, con 
structed across the Shan country by the gov 
ernment of Burma, we had an instructive ad 
venture illustrating the above fact. Riding a 
bicycle, I had left the carts on the road, and 
had reached a little settlement about noon. Here 
I awaited the arrival of our company. This set 
tlement represented a group of poor pig-stys. 
A clump of large bamboos offered an attractive 
shade. I had no sooner thrown myself down 
for a little rest, than some dozen or more chil 
dren swarmed around me. They were unusually 



68 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

dirty, yet attractive. Most of them were from 
six to ten years of age. Few wore any clothes, 
while the rest had merely an apology for rags. 
After looking me over, they continued their play. 
In course of time my followers came up, and, 
spreading my tent, I settled myself for a good 
rest, while dinner was preparing. Getting out 
my last magazines, the little folks, with whom I 
had become quite well acquainted, were keenly 
interested in all I did and had. The pictures in 
the advertising pages particularly attracted them. 
Though they had probably never seen a book, 
they were able to distinguish not a few of the 
pictures, especially those of animals; and I 
found their remarks more entertaining than the 
stories in the magazines. 

In my study of these little folks, I noted that 
one, a dirty girl of about eleven years, clothed 
in rags, the merest apology for covering, 
seemed to be the leading character in all their 
plays. A happy inspiration led me to pro 
pose a feast for them. So calling this girl, 
and announcing my purpose, she was directed 
to take the food, prepare the table, and see that 
each one behaved properly at the feast. This 
greatly pleased her, and her bright eyes twin- 



Stories of Karen Child-Life 69 

kled; for really, had she been washed and 
clothed, she would have been a remarkably at 
tractive child. Taking a large plate and placing 
it on a paper upon the ground, I poured on it 
a cup of white sugar, first giving the hostess a 
taste, so she might know it was not salt. Then 
I turned over matters to the hostess. A comical 
scene ensued. Like a born leader, she mar 
shalled her little companions about the table, and 
gave them their orders. They were to seat 
themselves with their right side to the plate, and 
to eat with the right hand. They were not to 
talk, and must eat slowly and a little at a time. 
These directions were carefully obeyed. The 
combination of rags and tatters and good man 
ners, and the dignity of the hostess, were very 
amusing. 

While meditating on the discovery of so rare 
a jewel among a bunch of rags and dirt, my rev 
eries were suddenly interrupted by seeing my 
little lady grasp a handful of sugar and, like a 
humming-bird, dart away among the huts. But 
this puzzling act was explained by her immediate 
return, followed by her mother. Apparently, 
she could not fully enjoy the feast without her 
mother sharing it with her. Here was an in- 



70 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

stance of unselfish child-love not always met in 
Christian lands. 

It is interesting to note how closely children 
of all races resemble each other. In all their so 
cial relations heathen children do not differ from 
those born in Christian lands. It is only as they 
begin to think and plan for themselves that they 
learn the ways of their elders, or diverge from 
the common innocence of childhood to the adop 
tion of heathen superstitions and practices. 

This unity of childhood marks the unity of 
the human race, and the saying that " human 
nature is the same in all the world " gains new 
emphasis when studied from the standpoint of 
the child. Accordingly, the missionary finds at 
this point of his new work that he is dealing with 
familiar problems. These characteristics, which 
mark the unity of childhood among all races, 
sometimes appear to be accentuated among less 
intelligent peoples; so that, before the fogs of 
sin and ignorance have blurred the image of 
God in which they were created, they show a 
strength and brightness more marked than in 
their more favoured brothers and sisters in en 
lightened lands. This fact has not received due 
attention in ethnological studies. 



Stories of Karen Child-Life 71 

On our first tour of exploration to Karenni, 
before narrated, we met a case in point which 
was instructive. In our company were a num 
ber of schoolboys, who were sweet singers and 
otherwise bright pupils in our Toungoo school. 
In their association with Red Karen children, 
they quickly formed acquaintances and proved 
themselves to be good missionaries. The chil 
dren they were visiting had never seen the white 
book, nor heard intelligent singing. Our boys 
soon had a class in the Karen alphabet and in 
singing. With surprising quickness they learned 
both the songs and alphabet. Our youth 
ful teachers were in great demand, and en 
thusiasm ran high. Among others, a young girl, 
perhaps of fourteen years, was quite carried 
away with the idea of learning to read the white 
book. In their conferences their relation to the 
Living God was explained, and Naw De-moo, 
the little girl referred to, was fired with the de 
sire to learn more of this wonderful Being. 

The question of Naw De-moo returning with 
us to Toungoo for study arose, and was care 
fully discussed. She would be the only female 
in the party, and the journey would require ten 
or twelve days, and be over high ranges of 



72 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

mountains and through forests abounding in 
wild beasts. As De-moo expressed her desire 
strongly and repeatedly, the proposition took 
form. That she might be fully prepared for the 
hard journey, the difficulties of the way were 
carefully set before her. One Red Karen boy 
was to return with us, so that communication 
would be easy. As she stood before us, she ap 
peared much excited. The difficulties of the 
journey were again explained. But she was told 
that, on reaching Toungoo, she would be heartily 
welcomed by the missionary women, and that we 
would provide all her needs while engaged in 
study. Then she could learn to worship the 
Living God to her fullest satisfaction. 

It was a scene long to be remembered. This 
little child was contemplating the long and dan 
gerous journey to a distant land, where none 
of her people dwelt, to learn the mysteries of 
the white book, and of the worship of a new 
found God. Her excitement was intense. As 
she stood before us trembling, we said to her: 
" De-moo, think well of what you are doing. 
Make up your mind firmly. If you decide to 
go with us, well. We will care for you as for 
an own child." She still hesitated; but, sum- 



Stories of Karen Child-Life 73 

moning a strength and determination altogether 
beyond our accepted ideas of heathen children, 
she exclaimed, " I will go and learn to worship 
the Living God, live or die." 

She was told to prepare herself for the jour 
ney, as we would leave early in the morning. 
As our company filed out from the village the 
next day, she appeared among us with a small 
basket of food and clothes held by a strap 
against her forehead, ready for the journey. A 
number of her friends also were escorting her. 
Not once during the long journey did she ex 
hibit signs of homesickness, but patiently 
tramped along with the caravan, up and down 
the mountains, and across rivers, until she 
reached the city of Toungoo. On the way, our 
Karen boys and the whole company treated her 
with the utmost politeness, even as though she 
had been the queen of the Karens. At even- 
time they made a little booth for her lodging- 
place, and eagerly helped her as best they could 
through every difficulty. 

Never have we seen a better exhibition of 
kindly feeling among civilised races than 
was shown toward De-moo on this her trium 
phant journey from darkness to light, from the 



74 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

city of destruction to the city of life. She 
reached Toungoo in safety, and was most cor 
dially received into the school, as the first Red 
Karen girl who had dared to make such a long 
journey in search of a nobler life. She acquired 
the Sgaw Karen dialect with remarkable quick 
ness. In about a year from her entrance into 
the school she applied for baptism, and subse 
quently she married a native Karen pastor, with 
whom she led a life of remarkable usefulness 
till the day of her death. Few white children 
would have shown such courage, faith, and pa 
tience in pursuit of a better life. She was, in 
deed, one of the choice fruits of the Holy 
Spirit. 

Many instances arise in missionary experience 
to show that God exercises His providential care 
over heathen children as well as over those of 
Christian birth. The following incident is given 
to illustrate this fact. In a village perched on a 
mountain-side far away in the jungle, a teacher 
had begun his work of preaching the gospel. 
Down the mountain-side was a spring which 
supplied the village with water. According to 
the usual custom, the young children collected 
the wood and brought the water for family use. 



Stories of Karen Child-Life 75 

One of the elders of the village had discovered 
tracks of some wild animals around this spring, 
and, with visions of a venison dinner, he had 
planted bamboo spikes about it. This act was 
called "do-mer" (spike-planting). The spikes 
were made of the toughest part of the bamboo, 
were about four feet long, the points sharpened 
and made hard in fire, and made a very for 
midable weapon for attack or defence. One 
morning Naw Paw-Gay, five or six years old, 
took her bamboo for water. It was longer than 
herself. She put the strap across her forehead 
and trotted down the hill to get water for the 
morning rice. As she stooped to dip the bam 
boo into the spring, a dark shadow fell upon 
her and a rushing sound passed over her. In 
stantly she awoke to her peril, as, looking up, 
she saw a frightful beast. It was a man-eating 
tiger which had secreted itself in the grass near 
the spring to watch for its breakfast. The mo 
ment the little girl stooped to dip up the water, 
the tiger sprang for her head. Missing it, he 
went over her and fell upon the spikes and was 
securely impaled upon them. Her terrified 
screams quickly brought the villagers to her 
rescue, and they shortly despatched the tiger. 



76 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

Henceforth the name of Naw Paw-Gay was 
changed to Ke-Rou-po, or " the tiger-child." 
The sceptic may call this an accident; but the 
believer in God s loving care will regard it as 
a special interposition of Providence. 



VI 

K SURDO 

Y^ SURDO" this word has been a 
I^L song of joy to many missionaries 
during the last half of the nineteenth 
century. It is a lone mountain about twenty 
miles southeast from Toungoo City. It is ob 
long, and rises fifteen hundred feet from the 
plain on the eastern bank of the Toungoo River. 
It is so situated as to catch the dry-season winds 
from both north and south. Throughout the hot 
season the temperature at the mountain top is 
from ten to fifteen degrees lower than on the 
plains. This affords great relief from the op 
pressive heat that elsewhere prevails. The 
mountain was a fortunate discovery for the for 
eign whites who reside in this part of Burma. 

A small Karen village had sought the cool 
shade of K surdo, and a conference of churches 
was appointed to meet there. This drew the 
attention of the missionaries to the great change 
of climate between its summit and the plains; 

77 



78 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

and further exploration of the mountain settled 
the question of K surdo as a possible sanitarium 
for the mission. 

The mountain s surface is much broken. Deep 
ravines, starting from the summit, cut its sides 
in every direction. These ravines are filled with 
a growth of rattan, numerous dwarf palms, 
arums, and other tropical plants of richly col 
oured foliage, which afford constant surprises 
and pleasure to the lover of nature. The moun 
tain is also covered with large boulders, as 
though some giant iceberg in past ages had 
stranded here and dumped its load of rocks. 
In some places granite boulders of immense size 
are piled upon each other. These groups of 
rocks were a constant source of interest, and 
some of them were named to distinguish them 
from each other. Prominent among these was 
the " Treasure-rock," composed of several huge 
granite blocks, forming a sort of cave, and out 
of the centre grew a large jack- fruit tree. Na 
tive tradition here located the valuables of an 
ancient village, whose inhabitants were driven 
away by their enemies. There was also the 
" Table-rock," a level shelf of the mountain, 
which afforded a charming place for picnics, as 



K surdo 79 

it was densely shaded by bamboos and creepers. 
The " Fern-rock " was another pile, carpeted 
with beautiful ferns. Then " Lookout-rock " 
was situated on the verge of the mountain slope, 
and the missionary children used to climb it to 
watch the coming of messengers from the city. 
Distant from the camp was another immense pile 
of rocks containing a cave, which was called the 
" Bear-den," suggested by the fact that bears 
were often seen there. It did not require a vivid 
imagination to surround some of these forma 
tions with stories of ancient ruined castles and 
battlements, the scenes of once bitter strifes. 
And, in fact, the mountain abounded in native 
traditions of ancient peoples who chose it for 
their stronghold. 

Primeval forests covered the mountain, the 
lofty trees of which were bound together at their 
tops by creepers, thereby forming a grateful 
shade. Here, also, was the home of the banyan 
tree, whose fantastic rootlets, climbing over the 
boulders, or falling from the lower branches 
and forming new trunks, afforded much inter 
est. Each tree constituted a grove in it 
self, and made beautiful playhouses for the 
children. 



8o Sketches from the Karen Hills 

Fruit-trees also abounded, some of them prov 
ing the place to have been formerly inhabited. 
Among the kinds most prized was one having 
fruit hanging from its trunk, like bunches of 
grapes. They were of yellow and crimson col 
ours, and had a delicious acid flavour. The na 
tives and monkeys had no little rivalry in gath 
ering this fruit. Then there was a giant tree 
covered in its season with a fruit similar to the 
strawberry in shape and colour, which was of 
delicious flavour. 

Any attempt to describe K surdo must needs 
be unsatisfactory, so varied and unique are its 
attractions. In addition to what has been men 
tioned, perhaps the crowning scene remains to 
be noticed. It is the " Betel-nut Orchard." It 
was situated in a bowl-like depression of the 
mountain, intertwined with vines. Here a rich 
soil had produced a variety of flowering shrubs 
and trees, the most conspicuous of them being 
Areca palms, which furnish the prized betel- 
nut of the country. In the centre of the de 
pression were these beautiful palms, tall and 
slender, crowned with heavy plumes of dark, 
glossy green leaves, and golden fruit. They con 
trasted strongly with the surrounding jungle, 



K surdo 8 1 

and presented a scene of surpassing beauty, of 
which the beholder could never tire. 

In the shade of these trees, cool even at noon 
day, one could always find a grateful retreat, 
which was made still more inviting by a stream 
of clear water that flowed through the orchard, 
causing the flowering shrubs that lined its banks 
to flourish with an Eden luxuriance. There were 
also other shady nooks scattered here and there, 
inviting both the weary and the studious to their 
repose. Indeed, the whole mountain top was 
like a well-ordered park, its atmosphere per 
fumed with flowers, and the whole made vocal 
by the songs of insects and birds. And only 
they who have experienced the bird-and-insect 
life of the tropics can appreciate the peculiar 
charm of their morning and evening concerts. 

K surdo is also the haunt of various wild ani 
mals and reptiles. The fierce heat of the plains 
in the dry season, with the failure of water, 
drives the animals to this cooler climate with its 
water supply. Among the more harmless ani 
mals were the black and brown bear, several 
kinds of deer, the elk, and occasionally the bison. 
Of the deer there was a small, graceful little fel 
low called the " barking-deer," so named from 



82 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

the peculiar noise it makes when startled. The 
dreaded tiger and leopard were also occasionally 
met, drawn thither in pursuit of deer. More 
over, wild hogs roamed through the forests in 
search of fruit, while troops of monkeys formed 
a constant source of amusement to the visitors. 
They seemed to possess almost human discern 
ment: for their curiosity led them to gather 
about our camp to watch the children at play, 
and, finding they were disturbed on week-days, 
they selected Sundays for their visits. Baboons 
also were sometimes seen, and they looked 
strangely human at a distance as they ran over 
the ground. Thus K surdo furnished abundant 
entertainment as well as rest. 

It was found practicable to take classes of na 
tives to this resort for instruction, or literary 
work; so that, while resting, there would be no 
interruption in our missionary work. At first 
our encampment consisted of bamboo huts; but 
later, as this proved so good a missionary sani 
tarium, more permanent dwellings were erected. 

Amid such surroundings adventures were daily 
occurring which prevented all monotony. And 
what glorious evenings were those when we 
gathered in the open square of our encampment 



K surdo 83 

under the great banyan tree, which spread over 
us its gently swaying branches and glossy leaves, 
and all illuminated by our campfire, while the 
gentle breeze, which always prevailed in the 
evening, added to our comfort and enjoy 
ment. 

Surprises, however, were liable at any time, 
and some of them were decidedly ludicrous. For 
instance, a family of civet cats once discovered 
our chicken coops, and made several attacks 
upon them. They came through the tree-tops 
in the evening, and announced their approach 
by a series of calls. A plan was made for their 
destruction. The natives were directed to gather 
heaps of leaves and fire them when the cats be 
gan to call. This was to reveal the intruders in 
the tree-tops, so that we could despatch them. 
No little excitement was thus aroused, and when 
one of the largest cats appeared in the banyan 
tree, directly over the house of one of the mis 
sionaries, a well-aimed rifle-shot brought him 
down. He was much larger than an ordinary 
cat, and fell like a stone, passing through the 
grass roof of the house below. It so happened 
that the housewife was sitting with her feet 
on a basket of clothes, hushing her little son to 



84 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

sleep, when the cat came through the roof into 
the basket, spitting and scratching furiously. 
The affrighted woman naturally fled to the bed 
for refuge, but was quickly relieved by the re 
moval of the intruder. 



VII 

ENCOUNTERS WITH WILD BEASTS AND SERPENTS 

DURING my boyhood in Maine, I became 
ambitious to shoot a bear, but an oppor 
tunity never occurred to do this there. 
And although frequently seeing them about our 
encampment on K surdo, my ambition was slow 
in being gratified. One day a Karen girl was 
lost in her rambles. This was discovered when 
she failed to appear at sunset. Parties were at 
once sent out in every direction, but no trace 
of her was discovered. Early in the morning, 
calling a Karen boy to carry an extra gun, I 
set out for an extended search around the waist 
of the mountain. Approaching a deep ravine, 
down which ran a small brook filled with boul 
ders, and its banks lined with small palms and 
rattans, I heard a noise like the scratching of a 
fowl. While reaching back to the boy for my 
shot-gun, I saw what appeared to my excited 
vision to be a small elephant rushing out of the 
85 



86 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

ravine up the mountain-side. Though not skil 
ful with a rifle, a snap-shot at the fleeing 
monster went true and stopped his flight. Turn 
ing suddenly, he charged directly toward us. 
Having a repeating rifle, I fired shot after shot 
at him, perhaps none taking effect. To my great 
relief, he stopped in the ravine. His loud and 
laboured breathing showed that he was badly 
wounded. Looking back for my Karen boy, 
I saw him calmly loading the double-barrelled 
shot-gun with bullets. Gathering up my scat 
tered wits, I drew near the wounded bear to 
get a good sight of him, well supported by my 
Karen lad. In fact, his bravery rather shamed 
me, and I pressed forward to get the first shot. 
That shot pierced the brute s brain and ended 
his distress. The bear was a monster. It took 
six strong men to lift him, and they were unable 
to carry him to camp. This event greatly ex 
cited the camp, especially the natives, who es 
teemed bear steak as the choicest food. 

About noon the next day the lost girl walked 
into camp as calmly as though being lost were 
with her a common experience. 

There is doubtless a strong attraction for ad 
venture to all lovers of the " wild," espe- 



Wild Beasts and Serpents 87 

cially when mixed with a spice of danger. It 
may be that this is stronger after than before 
the event; but to look a fierce beast in the face, 
which is able to crush you in a moment, with 
out afterward trembling with fear, gives one a 
comfortable feeling of confidence. 

One evening, a little before sundown, I set 
out on my evening stroll in search of some veni 
son for the camp. Our servant, who was cook 
and man-of -all- work, thought he would like to 
follow the " master." After crossing several 
ridges, we drew near a spot where, a few days 
before, I had seen deer feeding. I had a double- 
barrelled shot-gun loaded with a heavy charge 
of buck-shot. The servant was a little in the 
rear with my rifle. I was walking quietly, and 
had passed a deep ravine and was climbing a 
ridge that made down from the mountain top. 
I had nearly reached the summit, when a slight 
noise on my left made me look up; and there 
was a sight to stir one s blood. Two very large 
bears were coming slowly down the ridge, 
swinging their heads from side to side, as is their 
custom. They were only several rods distant, 
and yet they had not heard my approach. In 
such circumstances one thinks quickly. If I had 



88 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

had my rifle, my anxiety would have been less. 
The first thought was, how to escape. To turn 
and run would invite pursuit. The next thought 
was, to climb a tree; but none was near. So, 
making a virtue of necessity, I was obliged to 
face the beasts. Slipping an ounce bullet into 
my gun over the shot, I prepared for what might 
come. 

Meantime they had drawn nearer, and aiming 
carefully at the head of the larger bear, think 
ing the smaller one would flee, I fired. The re 
sult was the most awful " mix-up " of bruin and 
bushes I ever saw. He was evidently very un 
comfortable; for his roar was full of pain and 
rage. Fearing he might get straightened out and 
turn upon us, I hastened back to the servant for 
my rifle ; and with this in hand the battle was 
soon ended. 

Among the varied incidents which contributed 
to our entertainment, there were some which did 
not result so happily. Not far from our camp 
was a beautiful banyan tree of immense size. 
It bore abundant fruit, about the size of a 
cherry, which was much sought after by the 
birds and beasts of the forest. In strolling 
through the jungle one day, I observed this tree 



Wild Beasts and Serpents 89 

was shedding its fruit, and that large animals 
were resorting here daily. This promised a 
comfortable adventure. Burnishing my new 
Remington rifle, and taking a good supply of 
cartridges, I went out to the banyan tree early 
in the evening to get well settled before the ani 
mals came to feed. I selected a large rock 
within easy shooting distance from the tree ; and, 
arranging my blind, I kept a sharp lookout for 
the coming game. Soon I was surprised to see 
three large black animals coming over the ridge 
toward me. Thinking that I had three bears 
on my hands, I prepared for battle. The leader 
was very large. They came rapidly over the 
hill, evidently looking for food, and the leader, 
a boar of great size, stopped a half-gunshot 
from me, presenting a beautiful side shot. Rest 
ing my rifle on the rock, and taking careful 
aim at the vital spot on the shoulder, I fired. 
But I made a mistake, and lost one of the lar 
gest wild boars I ever saw. His tusks appeared 
to be fully six inches in length. Forgetting that 
a rifle, heavily loaded, will overshoot within the 
first hundred yards, and is liable to bound when 
rested on a rock, I did not make the necessary 
allowance, and so the bullet only cut the bristles 



90 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

on his back. With a savage cry of alarm he 
threw up his head, and looked for his enemy. 
Failing to discover me, he took up a slow and 
dignified trot, as though scorning such an at 
tack, and passed over the hill out of sight. Of 
the other two, one sprang aside into a thick 
clump of bushes, leaving in sight only a small 
black spot. Somewhat chagrined at my first 
shot, I stood erect in my shelter, and at arm s- 
length fired a snap-shot at the black spot in 
the bushes. The wild boar fell dead a few 
rods from the place where he was hit. The third 
one had disappeared. The natives declare that 
the wild boar is more dangerous to meet than 
even a tiger. Possibly it was better that I had 
no closer acquaintance with the first than the 
cutting of a few bristles from his back. 

But our experiences were not always agree 
able. Harmless as well as dangerous snakes are 
abhorrent to most persons. These were our 
chief discomfort; for they were numerous, and 
formed no small part of our K surdo life. In 
our first encampment our house consisted of a 
two-roomed bamboo bungalow a dining- and a 
sleeping- room. One night as we were finishing 
our evening meal, the mail from America ar- 



Wild Beasts and Serpents 91 

rived, and as we were reading the letters in the 
sleeping-room, we heard an unusual noise among 
the dishes on the table. Looking up to discover 
the cause, what was our horror to see an enor 
mous snake reaching down from the rafters to 
help himself to the butter. In doing this he dis 
turbed a spoon in a cup, which gave us the 
warning. Seizing a rattan cane, I advanced to 
the attack. The snake evidently did not like my 
appearance, for he put his head over the edge 
of the table to look for a place of escape. This 
enabled me to strike a fatal blow. He was 
about fourteen feet long, but was not a poison 
ous kind. 

This incident quite upset our faith in the ab 
sence of danger in the house, and, as snakes 
appeared so often in our house, we changed our 
encampment to a less dangerous locality. Yet 
here also, in the course of time, we were dis 
turbed by the appearance of reptiles. We had 
made a more substantial bungalow, building it 
well up from the ground. Yet one day the 
house-mother, stepping into the sleeping-room, 
where the children were playing on the bed, 
saw hanging from the rafters a large green 
snake, which was seemingly fascinated by the 



92 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

singing of the children; for he was swaying 
back and forth, his glittering eyes fixed upon 
them. The mother had sufficient presence of 
mind to quietly call the children outside, when 
the snake was despatched by the Karen boys. 

The cooking for the family was partly done 
on an oil-stove, which was in a corner of the 
room. One day the mistress of the house saw 
what she supposed was a roll of cloth, left by 
the maid, behind the stove. Stooping to remove 
it, she saw two bright eyes, and thinking it was 
a frog, she sought a stick to drive it out, when 
suddenly the " frog " spread out into a snake 
six or seven feet long. It proved to be a poison 
ous kind. A few such warnings kept us alert. 

The following accounts will show the charac 
ter of the more dangerous serpents. 

Several narrow escapes from a horrible death 
from serpents have befallen me in my missionary 
life, which have deeply impressed me with the 
providential care of our Heavenly Father. One 
of these was from a python, and a second from 
a giant cobra. The python, or as sometimes 
called, the rock snake, is a variety of the boa 
family, and is often found in Asia, especially 
in Burma. The bite of this snake is not poison- 



Wild Beasts and Serpents 93 

ous. He captures his prey in his strong coils 
and crushes it, when he swallows it, beginning 
with the head. He can easily dispose thus of 
a small deer or pig. They are sometimes found 
thirty feet in length and are attractively coloured 
in rhomboidal figures. I once saw one running 
down a ravine, which could not have been less 
than twenty-five feet in length. The python is 
very fierce, and also quick in movement when 
darting for prey. 

This serpent was captured one morning about 
a mile from the place where it was photographed. 
Two Karen lads were travelling with me over 
a mountain covered with old jungle, or that 
which had been left undisturbed for centuries. 
It was during the hot season, and the plains 
were very dry, so the animals had fled into 
the mountains for cool shade and water. There 
were in this forest a variety of large and small 
deer, wild hogs, bears, and other beasts. The 
forest through which we were going was very 
dense, some of the trees being from one hun 
dred and fifty to two hundred feet in height. 
Rattans, small palms, bamboos, and many long- 
leafed tropical plants grew in rank profusion. 
The air was heavy with the fragrance of flower- 



94 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

ing trees and creeping plants, mingled with the 
rank odour of living creatures. We were ex 
pecting at every turn of the brook, along which 
we were cautiously proceeding, to see some wild 
animal. We were not looking for serpents, 
though knowing we were passing through their 
haunts. I was stepping from rock to rock in 
the brook, so as to avoid noise which would 
frighten away game, and my two Karen boys 
were following at some distance along the bank 
of the brook. As I put my foot upon a large 
rock, I noticed a sudden movement among the 
dry leaves between that rock and a larger one 
about three feet from it; and at the same time 
I caught sight of the brilliant colours of this 
great serpent through the leaves. Quick as 
thought I sprang to the bank of the brook, but 
only a few seconds before the enormous folds 
of this serpent swept over the place on which 
I had stood. In fact, we had sprang nearly to 
gether, though I was, most fortunately, slightly 
ahead of the snake. Immediately I put a fatal 
shot through his neck. 

The wisdom of the serpent was here clearly 
shown; for he had coiled himself closely be 
tween the rocks, and covered himself with dry 



Wild Beasts and Serpents 95 

leaves, so that he could easily capture any ani 
mal passing up or down the brook. For such 
an animal would naturally step over either of 
the rocks, and so into the coils of the monster. 
And he surely would have caught me, if I had 
not seen him as quickly as I did. My two Karen 
boys were greatly excited, and most joyous over 
the escape of their teacher. Their joy was also 
heightened by the thought of the coming feast; 
for they declared the flesh of the python was 
like that of the chicken. They coiled him on 
a long bamboo, and it required their united 
strength, with frequent rests, to carry him to 
camp. 

There is only one serpent in all India, so far 
as I know, which will pursue human beings for 
the purpose of attack. The family of adders, 
which are very poisonous, strike only when dis 
turbed, and then in self-defence. So with the 
cobra, of the hooded family of snakes. The 
family of the cobra de capello, the individuals of 
which sometimes attain a length of six feet, is 
very numerous, but very seldom attack a person. 
Usually, when suddenly disturbed, they lift their 
head, spread the hood, which is an enlargement 
of the skin of the neck, and utter a sharp hissing 



96 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

sound, which serves as a warning; though a 
strike often follows closely after the hiss. 

Once I nearly stepped on one of these snakes, 
but, warned by the hiss, I saw the reptile at my 
feet with uplifted head and spread hood, ready 
to strike me. A quick side jump saved me from 
the bite. I should not have seen him, as I was 
walking in thick brush, but for the warning hiss. 

There is, however, no snake in the hooded 
family so dangerous, and greatly to be dreaded, 
as the giant cobra, or hamadryad. This serpent 
sometimes attains the length of thirteen feet. 
It is very quick in its motions, can swim, 
and also climb trees. The natives declare it 
can glide along on level ground as fast as a 
horse can run. As it cannot hold on to sloping 
ground, the natives, when pursued by this ser 
pent, take to the hill-sides for escape. Fortu 
nately, the giant cobra is not very common in 
India, and his marking is so like a " jail-bird " 
that he is readily distinguished from his sur 
roundings. This marking, in the case I am 
about to relate, consisted of dark-brown and 
dirty-grey bands of about one and a half inches 
in width, alternating from head to tail. 

One morning I was travelling alone through 



Wild Beasts and Serpents 97 

the forest, hunting wild chickens. Flocks of 
jungle fowl, like the Brahma fowl seen in this 
country, as well as pheasants of gay plumage, 
were often met, scratching among the leaves un 
der clumps of bamboos for bamboo seed. Every 
morning the cocks would be heard challenging 
each other with their vigorous crowing. I had 
previously seen a flock of these fowls in that 
locality. It was near the close of the dry sea 
son, when the dry leaves of the trees had fallen 
on the ground, and any movement among them 
could be easily heard for some distance. As I 
strolled along, listening for any jungle noise, 
I heard a rustling of the leaves, as if a hen were 
scratching for her breakfast; and I stopped at 
once to locate its direction. When I stopped the 
noise ceased, and I moved again. Again I 
heard the rustling sound, and turned to locate 
it. The third time I was somewhat startled; for 
it seemed that whatever was making the noise 
was timing its motions with my own. This 
caused me to look back along the way over 
which I had come, and there, indeed, was the 
source of the sound that had startled me. It 
was a giant cobra, the hamadryad, of which I 
had been told so many frightful stories by the 



98 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

natives, and he was after me. I had no time 
to study the serpent, for he was only a few feet 
distant, and had evidently been stalking me, to 
get near enough for attack before being seen. 
When he saw that he was observed, he raised 
his great head about three feet from the 
ground and spread his great hood, his chal 
lenge for a battle. A quick shot hit him as he 
sprang at me, and his swift contortions were for 
the moment frightful to behold. A second shot 
reached a vital spot, and he dropped dead at 
my feet. Then, as I realised how near I had 
come to a sudden and frightful death, a cold 
chill swept over me. Again the providential 
care of the Heavenly Father had delivered me 
from an awful death, and a feeling of deep 
gratitude filled my heart. Had I not been 
prompt to look backward over my path, I should 
have lost my life. The serpent was ten and a 
half feet long. 



VIII 

STORY OF THE YAHDO CHAPEL 

NORTHEAST from Toungoo, in Burma, 
four hard days journey through jungle 
and over mountain trails, lies the large 
Karen village of Yahdo, which has become his 
toric in the Toungoo Mission. When our mis 
sionary work was first planned, this part of the 
country was quite unknown. It was located on 
the boundary line between English and inde 
pendent territory. Here the dividing mountain 
range towered six thousand feet above the sea. 
At the point where Yahdo was situated these 
mountains branched southward, as the fore 
finger and thumb of the left hand, and the Yahdo 
valley nestled between them. 

This lovely valley was about three miles long 
and one mile wide. A laughing mountain stream 
runs through the centre of the valley, its banks 
fringed with willows and flowers of the tem 
perate zone. In passing from the lower ranges 
into this valley, the change from tropical into 

99 



ioo Sketches from the Karen Hills 

temperate-zone scenery was so sudden as to be 
startling. The bounding mountain ranges also 
greatly differed from the surrounding ones. 
Those answering to the thumb had rounded tops 
and graceful slopes, while those answering to 
the forefinger were ragged, precipitous, and 
broken. Their sharp, towering peaks, and their 
precipitous crags, from eight hundred to a thou 
sand feet in height, formed a scene of imposing 
grandeur. 

When the plans for our missionary work were 
prepared, we aimed to reach the frontier in our 
evangelistic tours as soon as possible; yet it 
took many years to explore and occupy the in 
tervening territory. At that time, 1866, the 
frontier church was named Shwaynangyee, 
which was gathered by Dr. M. H. Bixby, after 
wards pastor of Cranston Street Baptist Church, 
Providence, R. I. It was situated in a tribe 
which proved to be of the Karen race, called 
Gaicho Karens, though at the time it was gath 
ered, it was thought to belong to another race. 

The first work of the new missionary, who 
succeeded Dr. Bixby, was to visit this church, 
It was found to be admirably located for our 
advance to the northeast. We strengthened the 



Story of the Yahdo Chapel 101 

school and the hands of the pastor, who proved to 
be a wise pioneer and faithful preacher of the gos 
pel. In a few years there was a call for an advance 
from this point. Several villages had been won 
for Christ by this teacher at Shwaynangyee, and 
among them was one a long day s journey to 
the northeast, named Prehso. This in turn was 
made a frontier station, or centre from which 
teachers and evangelists were sent forth, and 
it grew to be one of the strongest churches in 
the Toungoo district. It was situated at the 
foot of the great dividing range on which Yahdo 
was located. 

While subsequently visiting this church on a 
tour of inspection, a delegation came over the 
mountains to ask us for teachers to go to the 
Yahdo valley. That was a glad morning for us, 
for though we had never visited that valley, we 
had often cast our eyes on those towering moun 
tains, and longed to plant the flag of the gospel 
on their heights. As these two valleys were 
more or less at enmity with each other, the 
trail over the mountains had fallen into disuse, 
and the natives thought it doubtful if I could get 
my pony over the hills. But with a good com 
pany of followers, provided with long knives, 



102 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

we set out on the climb. The trail was of the 
worst kind. Fallen trees had to be cut and 
moved; railings were placed along the precipi 
tous sides of the mountain to guard the ponies 
from falling; and sometimes we could ascend 
only by clinging with both hands and feet. 
After several hours of such effort, we came out 
upon the ridge of the thumb, and there unrolled 
before us one of the most beautiful scenes in all 
the Toungoo hills. A brook, flowing merrily 
southward, invited us to follow its course. The 
three villages, two to the north and one to the 
south, without a single Christian disciple, were 
entreating us to come to their help. 

As we stood on that ridge, studying the land 
scape before us, we were deeply impressed by 
the importance of this valley as a strategic point 
from which to advance the cause of Christ in 
these hills; and, feeling that God s set time had 
come to begin this work, we registered in our 
hearts a firm resolve to undertake it; though 
with slight conception of the strong opposition 
the great enemy of Christ would rally against 
us. How little did we realise that the coming 
of Christ s messenger would rouse the demon 
of war in this seeming abode of peace. But 



Story of the Yahdo Chapel 103 

such was our destined experience. Already the 
opposing forces were beginning to gather. And 
here we may remark that, in all our missionary 
life, every endeavour to win a territory for Christ 
from the kingdom of darkness has encountered 
the most strenuous and persistent opposition. 

Passing over the ridge of the thumb, we de 
scended into the valley. How beautiful it was! 
And yet how marred by the life of heathenism. 
All men went about with matchlocks, spears, and 
swords. We found the middle of the valley cov 
ered with a dense swamp. Around the edges 
were beautiful fields of rice, and the mountain 
stream lost none of its attractions on nearer 
approach. Crossing the valley, we ascended the 
hill on which was located the largest village, 
Yahdo, or Wahthaucho, the former meaning 
"the big plantain-hill," and the latter "the 
crown of large bamboos." Both names were 
equally applicable. The beautiful, large bamboo, 
which grows in masses and to the height of one 
hundred or more feet, crowned the whole hill 
top with its wavy plumes. As we advanced 
through the avenue formed by these graceful 
trees, the sight was entrancing. Though our re 
ception was cordial, we soon found that the old 



104 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

blood feuds were liable to break out at any 
time. Roman Catholic priests were already 
using these to influence the minds of the people 
against each other. The nominal worship of 
Christ was only a counter-movement to the evil 
actions of the priests. 

In crossing the valley and ascending the hill 
to the village, we were surrounded by a great 
concourse of wild men and women. The village 
was encompassed by a stockade and ditch. Ow 
ing to the multitude of dogs and pigs, and the 
curious people pressing about us, our camp was 
pitched just outside the stockade. And, as tigers 
and other wild beasts infested the country, it 
was thought unsafe to remain in camp alone, so 
a company of young men came at dusk, built 
fires, and spread their mats on the ground all 
around our camp. The week spent at this place 
was full of work. The people cheerfully fol 
lowed our lead. The three villages of the val 
ley were called together, and a covenant entered 
into for future mutual work and help. A school 
was organised at once with children from two 
of the villages. A more happy beginning of 
a new interest in the line of Christian civilisa 
tion we never witnessed. 



Story of the Yahdo Chapel 105 

It seemed for once that the enemy of all 
righteousness had failed to take notice of this 
entrance into his kingdom. But, no. A com 
pany of Roman Catholic priests quickly fol 
lowed us to the Yahdo valley, and, with the 
skill of which they are masters, they scattered 
seeds of doubt, and alienated two of the vil 
lages from their peace compact. While we 
clung to the village of Yahdo, and kept up a 
flourishing school, the other two villages were 
led into open hostility. Old blood feuds, long 
since buried, were reopened and spurred into ac 
tivity. These feuds involved not only the vil 
lages in Yahdo valley, but some eight or more 
others across the English frontier. The priests 
had formed an alliance with one of the most 
notorious robbers and freebooters in all the 
mountains, named Murr. In him they found a 
zealous instrument for carrying out their pur 
pose, which was evidently our expulsion from 
the Yahdo valley. 

One morning nine persons from a neighbour 
ing village, friendly to Yahdo, were seized while 
passing the village to the City of Toungoo for 
trade, and were carried off to a stronghold, 
where they were held for ransom. Live stock 



io6 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

belonging to Yahdo was frequently killed, or 
mutilated, and all means known to the heathen 
for annoying the little band of Yahdo disciples 
and their associates were used. The division 
among the Karens had now assumed large pro 
portions. The enemy grew bold and defiant, be 
cause of the non-resistant attitude of the Yahdo 
people, and the mistaken supposition that the 
valley was outside of English territory, and that 
they were thus free to do whatever they liked. 

In September, 1883, the trouble culminated 
in a pitched battle between the friends of the 
Yahdo people and the party championed by the 
priests, in which seven of that party were killed, 
and their village burned to the ground. This 
was loudly charged to the pastor of the Yahdo 
church by the priests, and the whole question 
was now brought to the attention of the English 
government. We were forced by circumstances to 
ask for an official investigation. As the result, 
the judge, an English officer, pronounced the 
Yahdo Christians and their pastor to be entirely 
innocent of wrong-doing, and also deserving of 
great praise for the forbearance and moderation 
they had exhibited. Hereupon the priests 
charged the judge with being prejudiced by our 



Story of the Yahdo Chapel 107 

people, and by false evidence on our part; but 
he declared in unmistakable terms, " I form my 
decision on testimony of your own people, which 
you have given me." On further evidence, the 
chief of the party opposed to us was arrested, 
tried for murder and dacoity, convicted, and 
sent into exile. A police guard was also placed 
in Yahdo for the further protection of the peo 
ple. This was necessary from the fact that the 
official investigation showed that Yahdo was not 
outside the British boundary, as we had sup 
posed; for it lay between the thumb and the 
forefinger of the mountain range, as already 
mentioned. This was a crushing blow to the 
power of the priests in that quarter. 

As no open violation of the law would now be 
safe, our enemies resorted to petty annoyances. 
But, notwithstanding such persecutions, the vil 
lage grew to be very prosperous. The little 
chapel, which the people had laboriously built, 
and the school of sixty pupils therein gathered, 
were a crown of glory to the village. They loved 
their chapel with a love grown large from the 
sacrifices they had made in building it. But 
the time of sorest trial was at their door. 

One bright but windy morning, the opposing 



io8 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

village, now located on the thumb of the moun 
tain system, set their fields of felled trees on 
fire, evidently with the intention of destroying 
Yahdo village on the opposite side of the val 
ley, and thus escaping all blame, charging it to 
the wind. The southwest monsoon was strongly 
blowing; and as the flames mounted into the air, 
brands were caught up by the wind, carried 
across the valley, and rained upon the roofs of 
the houses in Yahdo. In less than half an hour, 
more than eighty houses, with their shade-trees, 
stores of food, everything, were reduced to 
ashes. The beautiful chapel, of which they were 
so justly proud, was also utterly destroyed. 

Said the teacher in a written statement: 
" Our chapel, which cost us so much labour and 
money, our crown of delight, our glory, in which 
we rejoiced, was utterly destroyed in a few min 
utes, together with the books and school ap 
paratus. The weeping women and the children 
were heart-broken as they beheld this destruc 
tion of their chapel; and as I saw their great 
sorrow, my throat filled, and I could not breathe, 
and had to turn away from the sad sight for 
relief. . . . Therefore," the letter concludes, 
" dear brothers in Christ, remember us, your 



Story of the Yahdo Chapel 109 

youngest church, in your prayers to Christ, 
in our affliction." Signed, " Your brother in 
Christ, Tah Dee." 

We hastened from Toungoo to the scene of 
the fire as soon as possible. And as we stood 
looking over the charred hill-top, with its glory 
of bamboo and tamarind trees in ashes, and saw 
our beloved disciples about their brush huts, 
striving to get together something with which 
to begin life anew, for the moment the shadow 
of the wing of the great tempter fell across my 
vision. For fifteen years we had wrought in 
cessantly to capture this stronghold in the 
mountains for the Kingdom of our Lord. Al 
ready the benign influence of this little church 
was felt among the heathen in the north and 
northwest, even to distant Karenni. We had 
dreamed of the time when the blood feuds of 
these many tribes would be annihilated; when 
peace would reign over these mountains; when 
witchcraft would be destroyed, and the songs of 
praise to God would take the place of all this 
discord. And here, in one short half-hour, these 
hopes were reduced to ashes. 

But the evil shadow of the wing quickly 
passed, as the promises of God began to shine 



no Sketches from the Karen Hills 

forth. The memory of Divine help in the past 
reassured us; and, as the beloved disciples ral 
lied around us, we found ourselves cheerfully 
discussing ways and means for building a new 
chapel. We planned a larger and more beautiful 
building than the former. It was to be thirty- 
six by twenty-four feet, two stories, and having 
a tower, in which we already by faith heard a 
bell calling the people to worship. In a few days 
the plans took complete form. Nine hundred 
sticks of timber must be cut and brought from 
the forest, about two miles distant. Eight 
thousand shingles must be brought from Toun- 
goo, besides nails, glass, etc. Men must also 
be hired to saw the lumber. Then came the 
question of individual work. The disciples were 
inclined to ask the heathen to help them. But 
when we suggested that this ought to be a love 
offering unto the Lord on the part of the dis 
ciples, and when they read what God said to 
Zerubbabel in rebuilding the temple, that " it 
was not by might, nor by power, but by My 
Spirit, saith the Lord," they decided to do all 
the work themselves. 

There were in all about forty disciples. They 
had lost nearly everything; but, after much con- 



Story of the Yahdo Chapel 1 1 1 

sultation, they pledged one hundred and eighty- 
five rupees towards the work, and in addition 
to this the men promised each thirty days la 
bour, and the women fifteen days, in building the 
house of God. They declared, " We wish to do 
this for Christ s sake." It was no easy work 
to do all the work involved with their own 
hands; and yet they undertook it with cheer 
fulness. 

In the meantime there was rejoicing of an 
other kind across the valley. When the enemy 
saw the destruction of the village chapel, they 
were filled with fiendish joy and exultation. 
They railingly asked the stricken disciples: 
" Where now is your God ? He has burned your 
village and has left you nothing. He has scat 
tered your people. Where is your glory ? " 
" But," said the disciples among themselves, 
" we will build a new chapel, better than the 
last, to the glory of our God." So they bowed 
their heads humbly to the reviling of their ene 
mies, and went on with their work. For a whole 
year they endured this reviling. But God was 
pleased with their faith, and was preparing a 
great and glorious deliverance. 

Almost a year after the chapel was burned, 



H2 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

a missionary wrote to a friend in Philadelphia, 
mentioning in his letter the situation of this be 
reaved church. The way still looked difficult, 
but with our little band of zealous disciples we 
were struggling on by faith in God. This letter 
reached its destination, the wife of a prominent 
pastor in Philadelphia. She read it to a little 
mission band at the Second Germantown Bap 
tist Church, and her letter will best tell the story. 
I am sure she will pardon its insertion here: 
" The children were deeply interested, and 
wanted to do what they could to help. That 
evening, in our home at the parsonage, little 
Rob, dear boy, came to me saying : Mother, here 
is something for you to help rebuild the chapel 
at Yahdo, where Dr. Bunker is ; and, handing 
me a bright twenty-five-cent piece, he ran out 
of the room. I called him back, and said, know 
ing what little money he had was already spent, 
Why, Robbie, dear, where did you get this 
money ? Sold my little Bunny, mother ; and 
he tried to look very brave, for that rabbit was 
a great pet of his; it had not been sold without 
a great deal of self-denial." 

At a subsequent meeting of the Children s 
Missionary Band, one hundred and seventy-five 



Story of the Yahdo Chapel 113 

dollars were contributed. Then Dr. Wayland 
opened his paper, The National Baptist, for a 
public appeal, which raised the sum to five hun 
dred dollars. Thus the marvellous goodness of 
God answered the faith of these few disciples 
in Yahdo more bountifully than we could ask or 
even think. 

The chapel was finished, and in due time Dr. 
Bixby, of Cranston Street Baptist Church, 
Providence, R. L, sent his bell for the tower. 
So this new temple of worship, much more 
beautiful than the other one destroyed by fire, 
was completed amidst great rejoicing, and was 
christened the " Mary Love " Chapel of Yahdo. 



IX 

THIRTEEN WITCHES 

AMONG the superstitions which curse the 
y% hill tribes of Burma, one of the most 
cruel is witchcraft. No superstition of 
old New England could surpass this work of the 
evil one in the hills of Burma. And the stran 
gest thing is that the crime is usually charged 
to old women. Among tribes where there is 
no law, save that of the strongest, the victims 
of this superstition have no redress. Wherever 
sickness has broken out, or a series of misfor 
tunes has befallen the people, it requires little 
effort to start a cry of witchcraft as their cause. 
The slightest occasion for directing the suspi 
cion of those who suffer towards some old 
woman who has passed her usefulness, or who 
has aroused enmity among her neighbours by 
her sharp tongue, is enough to seal her fate. 

The beginning of such strife results in charge 
and countercharge, until not only families, but 
sometimes whole villages are broken up. If the 
114 



Thirteen Witches 115 

party that brings the charge against some old 
mother is the stronger, it often results in the 
banishment of the victim from the village, or 
in her condemnation and death, the whole fam 
ily sometimes becoming involved. At such 
times the condemned are driven outside the vil 
lage and speared or shot to death, and their 
bones are left to bleach in the sun. Such^ grue 
some sights have often been seen by mission 
aries in their tours among these hills. 

On the borders between English territory and 
the Independent States eastward from Toungoo, 
there is one of the most fruitful churches of the 
Bghai Karen Mission. It is located in a valley 
near the top of the Poungloung mountain 
ranges, on one of the main roads to the inte 
rior, and amid the most picturesque scenery. 
The fame of this church had spread into all 
the surrounding region. The savage people were 
telling each other how this village of Yahdo had 
given up its old customs, and had chosen the 
new life, the life of Yuah (God). The reports 
were that they had become women instead of 
men, who would no longer fight; that they were 
kind to all strangers who came into their vil 
lage, and especially that they received and pro- 



n6 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

tected all refugees from other villages, who had 
been charged with witchcraft and had been ex 
pelled from their homes. So widespread had 
this last report become that many old women 
under this charge of witchcraft sought refuge 
in Yahdo. They were given employment in such 
domestic work as they were able to perform in 
exchange for their food. 

One hot season the missionaries went to 
Yahdo as a place of rest, where they found thir 
teen of these poor women. Together they 
formed one of the most pitiful sights seen among 
these hills. The condition of women among the 
Toungoo heathen is one of great hardship and 
suffering at best; for they are compelled not 
only to raise their large families of children, and 
care for their households, but are also obliged 
to help cultivate the fields. It is common among 
the heathen Karens to see the mother of the 
family digging out weeds with a short-handled 
hoe, and at the same time carrying a baby on 
her back, wrapped in a cotton blanket, while an 
other child drags at her skirts. At the age of 
twenty-five or thirty years she looks to be sixty 
or seventy. Yet as long as she has the love 
of her children and the savage love, it may be, 



Thirteen Witches 117 

of her husband, her life is not wholly void of 
comfort. When, however, worn out with her 
hard life, her hold on her husband s affections 
weakens, and her children have grown up and 
left the home, her lot often sinks into utter 
wretchedness. If now, through an enemy s mal 
ice, or her husband s desire for a new wife, the 
cry of " witch " is raised against her, the bit 
terest possible cup is pressed to her lips. She 
is compelled to flee from her home and people, 
or perish by violence. Perhaps as you see her 
dull and stupid look, you feel that the finer feel 
ings of the mother do not vibrate with pain at 
such a separation; but even a dog will leave 
home with reluctance. Bent over by years of 
double labour, with a spear in her hand for a 
staff, as well as for protection, she takes her 
weary way toward that Christian village, of 
which she has heard the people talk, where they 
do not kill old women under the charge of witch 
craft. After days of toilsome journeying, 
spending her nights either in the jungle or some 
village, she reaches Yahdo, and we see her 
among the thirteen witches. 

The two women missionaries of our party 
were strongly moved in their sympathies for this 



n8 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

company of outcasts. They commenced with 
peculiar tact to cultivate their acquaintance, and 
in a short time won their confidence. They took 
occasion to meet them when they were at their 
work, feeding the pigs, or pounding out the fam 
ily rice from its husks, or preparing food for 
cooking. It was little they could do, bowed and 
broken down by past sufferings, but they could 
appreciate the kindness these women were show 
ing them. 

Finally they were gathered into the Sunday 
school and formed the " infant class." This title 
caused some merriment among the Sunday- 
school children. They occupied one corner of 
the chapel, sitting close together on the floor. 
It was a picture, once seen, never to be forgotten. 
Their delight at being numbered among the 
Sunday-school children was almost pitiful. The 
missionary teacher wrote for them on a black 
board in large letters, as some were nearly blind, 
a sentence of three words in Karen, " Yuah me 
taheh " ("God is love"). They were urged 
to trace out the letters and observe their form; 
and, by patient instruction, they were in time 
able to distinguish them from anything else 
when put upon the board. As it flashed upon 



Thirteen Witches 119 

them that they were able to read this sentence 
like other scholars in the school, their delight 
was almost boundless. But the truth contained 
in these words was more difficult to apprehend. 
They had some basis in their traditions, on 
which to form their knowledge of Yuah, but 
His character as an ever-present and all-wise 
Father was new to them. This word mastered, 
however, they found it more difficult to under 
stand that He was " love." All their experience 
seemed to deny the thought. " Why," said some 
of them, " how can Yuah, who made the bright 
sun, as you say, love men ? " But when they 
came to see the next lesson, " Yuah eh yah," 
which means, " God loves me," the struggle be 
tween a budding faith and their life-long expe 
rience was wonderful to behold. " Why," said 
some of them, " this says God loves me. I am 
only an old, worn-out woman. I can no longer 
dig in the fields, nor cook food for my family. 
My husband no longer loves me; for he joined 
others in driving me from my village as a witch. 
If I had remained in the village, he would have 
joined others in taking my life." " Yes," said 
another, " my children no longer love me. How 
I wrought for them night and day, hoping they 



120 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

would care for me in my old age; but they have 
helped to drive me from my home." " Oh," 
said another, " there is no love ! " 

Their past sufferings were engraven on their 
faces. These had hardened them beyond tears, 
and now obscured the bright light of that lit 
tle sentence which these messengers of God were 
trying to teach them, " God loves me." 

During the several weeks the missionaries 
were among them, these so-called " witches " 
made real progress in the new life. Little by 
little they apprehended the great love of God, 
even for them, and some of the number mani 
festly came to apprehend the fact of their little 
Sunday-school lesson, " God loves me." 

No clearer proof of the Divine agency in the 
enlightenment of these old women could be de 
sired than the marvellous change which took 
place in them as they came to realise God s love 
for them. They repeated the lesson over and 
over to themselves and to each other; they re 
garded it as one would good news, long desired, 
from a far country. A perceptible change took 
place in their whole bearing; a new light came 
into their dim eyes ; and a cheerfulness, unknown 
before,* enlivened them. The unanimous ver- 



Thirteen Witches 121 

diet of the missionaries who saw them was, 
" This is the work of God." 

At the close of the season, on the departure 
of the missionary women to their work in town, 
an examination of the Sunday school at Yahdo 
was held. It was a large and enthusiastic 
school, but no class displayed more enthusiasm 
than the " infant class." The examination re 
vealed that most of them had completely mas 
tered their two lessons, and what grew out of 
them. No child in the school showed more pride 
than they in their examination. 

Some one conceived the idea of giving re 
wards of merit to the " infant class." As there 
was nothing better at hand, little squares were 
cut out of a biscuit tin and covered with white 
paper. Two holes were punched in each, through 
which were run bright coloured threads, by 
which to suspend them. On these tickets were 
written the two sentences, which were of such 
moment to them. No class of Sunday-school 
children in any Christian land were ever more 
pleased with their beautiful cards and costly 
books than were these thirteen deserted grand 
mothers. When these tickets were placed in 
their hands, no words can express the joy and 



122 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

praise that animated the school at the sight. In 
conclusion, nine of the number soon applied for 
admission to the church at Yahdo, and were 
baptised. And most of them became active 
workers. And yet how hopeless was their case, 
if left to mere human aid. Surely, their expe 
rience presents a bright comment on the decla 
ration made by Isaiah concerning the Christ and 
which He himself adopted : " The Spirit of the 
Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath 
anointed me to preach good tidings unto the 
meek: He hath sent me to bind up the broken 
hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and 
the opening of the prison to them that are 
bound." 



X 

PERILS AND PLEASURES 

EARLY mission travel in Burma, either by 
water or by land, was far more difficult 
than in these days of railways and gov 
ernment roads. Especially was this true in the 
pioneer stations. At these stations missionary 
journeys were undertaken on foot, or with a 
pony or elephant. The luggage for the trip was 
carried by native bearers in baskets on their 
backs. The roads for the most part were nar 
row, winding foot-paths, through the dense jun 
gle of the plains, and up the sides of steep 
mountains, sometimes along the beds of brooks 
or on the ridges of the mountains, subject to all 
the roughness of the country. If, occasionally, 
a part of the journey could be made by boat, 
this was counted great gain. Our supplies were 
of the most economical character, for the rea 
son that it was costly and inconvenient to em 
ploy a large number of bearers. Hence the out 
fit for a missionary journey was usually reduced 
123 



124 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

to the smallest amount necessary for health and 
effective work. Among native Christians, sup 
plies of rice, some vegetables, eggs, and poultry 
could always be found. But as the natives of 
Burma are quite as fond of " ripe " eggs as 
fresh, these had always to be tested before cook 
ing. Thus equipped with cooking utensils and 
provisions, clothes, books, and medicines, more 
or less according to the length of the journey, 
we undertook our missionary tours. Camp was 
made wherever night overtook us. A small tent 
was sufficient to shield from falling dew and 
night air. 

As wood abounded, the natives built large 
fires, both for comfort and protection. Wild 
beasts are sometimes numerous and aggressive. 
When travelling through old jungle, venomous 
insects and serpents are troublesome. Often 
times the missionary journey can be so arranged 
as to pass each night in some Christian or 
heathen village. But many pleasant nights will 
often be spent in the grand, primeval forest, 
where one is lulled to sleep by the soft music 
of the graceful bamboo, or the heavier music 
of the wind blowing through the tops of the 
giant trees. In the early morning, after such 



Perils and Pleasures 125 

a night, one is often wakened by the chattering 
of monkeys in the tree-tops, the screaming flocks 
of paraquets seeking their feeding-grounds, or 
the call of the cook to breakfast, and the new 
day begins. 

In this method of mission travel, however, one 
could not always forecast the difficulties he must 
encounter, and so provide for them. Unlooked- 
for hardships were often experienced. 

In the early days the Association of the Karen 
churches of the Toungoo country, on one occa 
sion, was held in the extreme northern part of 
the mission field, several days journey from 
the city. A party of several missionaries, with 
native assistants, was planned for the purpose 
of attending this Association. The first two days 
could be made by boat, the balance of the jour 
ney being through primitive forest and jungle. 
Owing to exigencies of mission work at the 
time, it was necessary for me to delay my de 
parture for one day, and on the next, follow 
the party on land. This necessitated taking two 
days journey in one. My luggage went with 
the main party by boat, the understanding being 
that we should overtake them at the end of the 
second day s journey. The plan looked simple 



126 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

enough, but the sequel justified the axiom, " In 
jungle travel never separate from your supplies 
even for an hour." 

It was nearly ten o clock on the second day 
after the departure of the party before I was 
able to continue my journey. Our little party 
consisted of three Karens and two native ponies. 
The road was fairly good all the way along the 
bank of the Sittang River. At noontime we 
hoped to secure food at some native village, but 
could find only rice and a little salt fish. Dur 
ing the afternoon we travelled rapidly, but failed 
to reach the appointed stopping-place before ten 
o clock. Our ponies were worn out and unable 
to bear us. One who has been weary to the 
point of sinking can easily imagine how eagerly 
we looked for our boat and supplies. As we 
came into the village, we saw the boat moored 
at the bank, but how great was our surprise to 
find it abandoned and empty. Through some 
misunderstanding the party had taken their de 
parture towards the mountains without leav 
ing any trace, save the broad path which led into 
the great forest. 

Owing to the danger of fever, and because we 
had no supplies, we took the only course open 



Perils and Pleasures 127 

to us, this path which led in the direction of 
the village where the meetings were to be held. 
About three o clock in the morning, after an 
all-night s journey, we judged from the signs 
about us that we were drawing near to a vil 
lage; but the branch roads were so confusing 
we signalled, in hope of reaching the ears of 
our friends. Three guns were discharged in 
quick succession, and we listened for an answer 
ing sound. The distant sound of a gong showed 
that our signal had been heard, and we hastened 
on with renewed hope in the direction of the 
sound. As we entered a thicker part of the for* 
est, where the moonlight was shut out by the 
overhanging tree-tops, we met with our great 
est surprise of the night. We were journeying 
along the territory between the English posses 
sions and those of the Independent States. As 
we were about to enter a deep ravine, which lay 
across our path, a file of native police suddenly 
arose, not more than six rods distant, and fired 
a volley at us point-bank. I was in the lead 
when this firing took place. If they had not 
been such poor shots, we should all have suf 
fered. Our Karen associates were terribly 
frightened, and shouted, " Come back, teacher, 



128 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

run, we are all dead men ! " The teacher did 
run, but the other way. He dashed in among 
the police, before they could reload, and the 
waving of an English " topee," or sun hat, and 
a few vigorous words in their own tongue, 
quickly brought them to their knees. For, be 
ing policemen, they had violated one of the gov 
ernment rules, which required them to challenge 
before firing. With the guidance of this now 
very willing band, we soon reached the village 
where the police force was stationed. 

The weariness of the party can be better imag 
ined than described. Here we were again dis 
appointed, not finding our friends; but our in 
formants told us that there were a party of 
white people at a village nearby. We were able 
to find a few eggs for our refreshment, and an 
armful of straw to sleep on. A messenger was 
sent off to find who these white men were, and 
to inform our party, if it were they, of our 
arrival. In about an hour messengers returned 
with a bottle of tea, and we all went to join the 
main party. A whole day s sleep and a few 
doses of anti-fever medicine enabled us to join 
the march for the place of our destination. Our 
resolution, " to never be separated from our sup- 



Perils and Pleasures 129 

plies even for an hour," was greatly strength 
ened by this experience. 

But travel in pioneer work in mission life was 
by no means all hardship. Our close touch with 
nature was a constant delight. Rare scenes of 
mountain and plain frequently added to our en 
joyment as we passed slowly through the great 
forest or along the mountain ridges. There was 
a wonderful variety of flowering trees, and on 
the mountain tops many large trees were fes 
tooned with beautiful and fragrant orchids, 
which our native followers gathered for us in 
great quantities. Often their fragrance filled the 
air with rich perfume. Strange grasses and 
ferns delighted us in every ravine; as well as 
dwarf palms, begonias, and other flowering 
plants. 

Naturally, some scenes would specially im 
print themselves upon our memory, of which the 
following is an example: We were crossing the 
Shan hills in the month of December, when the 
dry season was well established. Our course 
lay over the highest range of mountains between 
the Toungoo and Salwen rivers. They were 
covered with beautiful pines and a semi-tropical 
growth. Wild apple-trees, loaded with blossoms, 



130 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

filled the air with a perfume familiar to our 
home-land. Our journey began early in the 
morning. The air was clear and invigorating. 
As we reached the top of the range, travelling 
eastward, we were greeted by the rising sun, 
and our hearts were rilled with joy and praise 
as we watched it flooding the thousand hills with 
its golden rays. Passing beneath a dense pine 
grove, and turning a headland on the eastern 
slope of the hills, we beheld a scene of sur 
passing loveliness, which caused our whole party 
to halt. Pen cannot describe the rare beauty un 
folded before us. 

Far below was a great amphitheatre sur 
rounded by hills. A dark shadow enfolded its 
depths, and around and above this was spread 
a thick mantle of sparkling hoarfrost. The sur 
rounding mountains were bathed in bright sun 
shine, and on the eastern side fell away, thus 
letting the light shine in upon the amphitheatre. 
The mountains were covered with groups of 
low pines, which made rich contrasts of colour 
with the grey of the rocks and dried grasses, the 
jet black of a portion which had been burned 
by recent fires, the sparkling frost in the amphi 
theatre, and the light green of a large grove 



Perils and Pleasures 131 

of giant bamboos in the background, in which 
there nestled a native village with its straw- 
coloured roofs. Then this vivid picture was in 
tensified by a group of yellow-robed priests, who 
came into view on the right, and passed along 
the middle ground toward a cluster of white 
pagodas on the left. A large grove of blossom 
ing cherry trees in the immediate foreground 
added their delicate beauty to the scene. The 
golden rays of the rising sun blended the whole 
picture into one harmonious whole. 

This scene remained with us for many years, 
and often gave us cheer, when good-cheer was 
needed. Scenes like this are among the rich re 
wards with which the pioneer missionary and 
lover of nature is often blessed. 



XI 

THE MIRACLE OF SEMITE 

f JHERE have been, and of necessity always 
will be, two distinct features of mission 
ary work, as viewed from a material or 
spiritual standpoint. The root principle of all 
such work is of Divine origin. It has its birth 
and rise in the heart and work of Jesus Christ, 
the Son of God. Being Divine, it cannot be 
subjected to human rules and reasoning. Nor 
can it be understood in its working by those who 
do not thus receive it. Hence we claim that all 
reasoning about the " Naturalisation of Reli 
gion " to certain races, or its adaptation to the 
thought and customs of different nations, is con 
trary to the very genius of Christianity, because 
they are all "of the earth earthy." We have 
said that the root principle of the religion of 
Jesus is Divine, and it is natural that the results 
of such working should also be of a Divine 
character, and therefore miraculous. When the 
Lord declared to Nicodemus, " Ye must be born 
132 



The Miracle of Senite 133 

again," neither he nor his followers during all 
the centuries have been able to understand this 
declaration. Yet the missionary, having first ex 
perienced this miraculous work of the Holy 
Spirit, has been permitted to gaze with delight 
upon its repetition in the experiences of con 
verted heathen. The young missionary, how 
ever, who has witnessed this miracle in indi 
vidual cases in his own land, in his first mis 
sionary experience, may wonder if, in the dark- 
minded and ignorant savage before him, he can 
ever hope to see a like miracle. Supporters of 
missions also have an abiding interest in all ex 
hibitions of the Holy Spirit s power as related 
in the reports from mission fields. The follow 
ing account of the regeneration of a village of 
savages in the Toungoo hills of Burma has more 
than ordinary interest in this connection: 

The mountainous country between the Toun 
goo and Salwen rivers is inhabited by a number 
of Karen tribes who are very wild, and are a 
law unto themselves. They are in almost con 
stant feudal warfare, the stronger preying upon 
the weaker. Or this was their condition when 
the events here narrated took place. 

Six days eastward from Toungoo City, in the 



134 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

heart of this country, a large village named 
Senite had its stronghold. It was a veritable 
fortress, consisting of a gigantic limestone cliff 
rising more than three hundred feet above the 
surrounding country. Three sides of this cliff 
were almost perpendicular, and could be as 
cended only by a very rough, steep, and difficult 
path, which required the use of both hands and 
feet. The people on the cliff numbered about 
four hundred, dwelling in rude bamboo huts. 
They had taken refuge on the top of this rock 
because they had made enemies in the surround 
ing country by their life of violence and crime. 
Living in such a locality, wood and water were 
difficult to obtain, and this work fell to the lot 
of the women and children. 

When part way up the hill, the mission party 
became weary with the hard climbing, and 
stopped in the mouth of a cave to rest. While 
there, some of the village women came up the 
hill, bearing heavy loads of wood and water. 
As they had never seen a white man before, 
they were overcome with astonishment, and we 
were equally surprised at the strange appearance 
of the women. Their ornaments of brass wire, 
worn about their necks and limbs, made them 



The Miracle of Senite 135 

most extraordinary looking creatures. The wire 
was about half an inch in diameter and was put 
on in regular coils, increasing in number as the 
women grew older. This caused the neck to 
lengthen to an unusual degree, and the pressing 
wire made the jaw-bone project, giving a most 
repulsive effect, though regarded by them as a 
mark of great beauty. Their gait also, because 
of the heavy coils around their legs, was very 
awkward. Besides the wire, they were weighted 
by several pounds of different coloured beads, 
and a variety of charms, metallic and otherwise, 
were hung around their necks. Their hair was 
done up on top of their heads in a pyramid form, 
and held in place by silver pins and combs. How 
they could carry such heavy loads up that steep 
hillside, thus hampered, was a marvel to us ; and 
the marvel was increased when we found it was 
difficult to lift one of their loads from the 
ground. 

When they first saw us, fear sent them rush 
ing back, but a few kind words in their own 
tongue, from a native pastor, reassured them, 
and they soon passed on up the cliff to the vil 
lage. We followed, using our hands to help 
us up the rough way, and came shortly to the 



136 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

level top of the cliff, where we were met by the 
villagers. The excitement among them was very 
great, for this was the first time a white man 
had visited them. Soon two tents were pitched, 
and the little organ opened. Our Karen school 
boys and girls now sang their beautiful hymns, 
to the delight of the listeners. 

At first, the many pigs and dogs, and the ex 
citement of the people caused great confusion. 
Soon, however, the music had a quieting effect, 
and those who sat on the platform with the sing 
ers were able to look about them and study the 
scene. We saw before us the result of years 
of savagery, ignorance, and superstition. On 
every hand were signs of fetish worship. Skulls 
of various animals were hung on bamboos in 
every available place, to ward off evil spirits, 
which the people feared might cause accident or 
sickness among them. Small baskets of bamboo 
filled with eggs (very old), and other articles 
of food, were placed at all the entrances of the 
village for a like purpose. Bamboo altars were 
also placed about the village with rice beer for 
the entertainment of spirits, which were sup 
posed to be hovering about. 

While the children were singing, all the vil- 






The Miracle of Senite 137 

lagers came together, forming a semicircle 
around the little company of Christians. Fear 
had given place to the keenest curiosity on their 
faces. The small children formed the lower 
circle, those of larger growth above them, while 
the men and women were above all, forming a 
wall of black eyes and savage faces, presenting 
a sight never to be forgotten. It would not be 
strange if some messenger of the gospel, look 
ing upon such a scene of hopelessness and stu 
pidity, should question the ability of the gospel 
to lift such human beings into the beauty and 
glory of the Christ-life. Certainly no ground 
could be more utterly laid waste by the evil one 
for the experiment. This experiment was now 
to be made, and the work had already begun. 

After the confusion had been somewhat quieted 
by the music, a young native preacher, familiar 
with their language, stepped forward, and an 
nounced the good news from Jesus our Lord, 
which we had come to give them. He told them 
of the greatness and goodness of Jehovah, whom 
they knew in their tradition as " Yuah," and of 
the forgiveness of sin, concerning which they 
had never heard, and thought to be impossible; 
how the Son of God had come from heaven to 



138 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

earth, and had borne their sins away, because 
of His great love for them. 

The people were at once interested. No story 
can so quickly lay hold of the savage mind and 
rivet attention as this story of the glad tidings. 
And this fact was here emphasised. For the 
young man had experienced the truth of the 
story, and he spoke with such emotion as to 
commend his message to his hearers. 

It was most interesting to watch the play of 
emotion upon their stolid faces, steeped as the 
people were in sin, ignorance, and violence. For 
the first time they were hearing a voice from 
heaven. No other voice could possibly awaken 
in their souls such a Divine response. It was 
another miracle of grace, which we watched 
through subsequent years with the keenest inter 
est. Could the love of Jesus of Nazareth, as 
displayed upon the cross, reach the hearts of 
such as these, and change them into Christian 
children ? 

It was evident that the young preacher had 
made a favourable impression upon his audience ; 
for when he finished, a lively discussion broke 
out among the people. Some said : " We want 
this God for our God. If He loves men, let 



The Miracle of Senite 139 

Him come and live among us." Others ob 
jected: "If He dwells among us, we can make 
no more raids for plunder among other villages, 
and our enemies will come and devour us." 
Others said, " Yes, and we are told if we wor 
ship God we cannot drink whiskey " ; while an 
other clinched their objections by saying, " We 
would have to treat our women as ourselves; 
and, if we do, then how can we control them?" 
" But," interposed another, " we should have 
peace with our neighbours. We have no rest on 
the top of this rock, nor have we half enough 
to eat." 

So the discussion went on, conducted by the 
villagers on the one hand, and by the little band 
of native converts on the other. The old battle 
between good and evil was again to be fought 
out on this hill-top. The debate thus begun 
lasted through the night. As the contestants 
grew earnest or excited, from time to time, those 
in the tents, seeking sleep, took anxious note, for 
they realised how much was at stake. Such as 
desired Jesus to come and reign over them, an 
increasing number during the night, together 
with the native preachers, urged the great bene 
fits that would come to the villagers, if the wor- 



140 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

ship of Yuah should be accepted. The op 
ponents, however, brought forward the argu 
ments, as old as time, against a reformed life. 
Early in the morning one of the native workers 
reported that a notable victory for the Lord of 
glory had been won; and that the whole village 
had joined in a covenant to receive the worship 
of Yuah. This consisted in slaying a pig, the 
flesh of which was divided among all who joined 
in the covenant. The partaking of the flesh was 
regarding by them a binding act. 

The work of the new life began at once and 
in earnest. The young man who preached the 
previous night volunteered to commence evan 
gelistic work immediately. How great a sacri 
fice this was for him may be judged when it 
is stated that he was pastor of a prosperous 
church on the other side of the mountains, where 
he had a beautiful home. His cheerful change 
from such a happy environment to this desola 
tion argued well for his loyalty to his Master. 

A small bamboo hut was made for him, which 
was to serve as a dwelling, schoolroom, and 
chapel. Thus situated, he began his work for 
the salvation of the village. A school and regu 
lar public worship were at once started. It was 



The Miracle of Senite 141 

soon evident, however, that a minority of the 
villagers would not keep their covenant, or did 
not intend to do so when they made it, for they 
drew off. Real Christian converts, however, 
soon appeared, and after two years labour the 
first applicants for baptism presented them 
selves. Nothing was said to them about a 
change of dress; yet the new life, begotten in 
them by the Holy Spirit, was manifested in their 
earnest desire to be rid of their heathen orna 
ments, and for a more modest dress. The feel 
ing ran high at this time, and when they de 
termined to take off the wire from their necks 
and limbs, violence and even death were 
threatened by the parents of some of the chil 
dren. But the good life made rapid progress 
under the devoted ministry of this young man, 
and it was marked by the special power of the 
Holy Spirit. 

After seven years, the missionary party again 
visited Senite. Reports of the wonderful change 
that had taken place had reached us from time 
to time; but we were hardly prepared for the 
miracle of grace which had been wrought among 
this people. As we came in view of the former 
site of the village on the rock, we saw no trace 



142 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

of it. At an expression of our surprise, our 
guide, the pastor of the church, said, " A little 
further on you will see the new village." Our 
advance revealed marvellous changes. In place 
of the former barbarous and superstitious peo 
ple, whom we had visited in fear and doubt, we 
now saw a prosperous Christian community, who 
united in extending to us a royal welcome. Re 
peatedly a song broke out from some one in 
the multitude, which, taken up by others, was 
echoed back by the overhanging cliffs. 

Turning in the path around a projecting 
mountain spur, we came in sight of the well- 
ordered and comfortable dwellings of the vil 
lagers. They were located on the sloping bank 
of a sparkling mountain brook, singing its way 
to the sea. Our mission party stopped and gazed 
with wonder at the sight before them. Said the 
missionary to the pastor in charge, " Tee-O, 
have all the villagers become disciples of 
Christ?" "No," he replied, "only sixty have 
joined the church, and last week thirteen more 
presented themselves for baptism." " What be 
came of the rest?" asked the missionary, recall 
ing the many who made the pledge seven years 
before. " Most of them remained in the vil- 



The Miracle of Senite 143 

lage and have lived a quiet life," answered the 
pastor, " though they have not yet expressed 
faith in Christ. A small number of the worst 
characters have gone away and built a village 
for themselves. They loved their old life more 
than the promised blessing," continued Tee-O, 
" and they went their own way." 

The object of this assembling of the Christians 
was the meeting of the Association of thirty-five 
churches in annual conference, by invitation of 
the church in Senite. It is impossible to de 
scribe the extraordinary jubilation of the native 
Christians over the wonderful events wrought 
by our Lord that made it possible to have the 
meetings at this place. 

For two days the church and village enter 
tained nearly seven hundred delegates and vis 
itors. These days were full of the most joy 
ous meetings for business, praise, and prayer. 
As we entered the village and greeted the bands 
of glad disciples from far and near, we found 
the Senite people rejoicing as they welcomed 
their guests. Their faces were radiant as they 
crowded around the missionary party with ex 
pressions of thanksgiving and praise, mingled 
with tears of joy. The difference between the 



144 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

two visits, in the appearance of the people, is 
beyond description. The horrid heathen orna 
ments, together with the coils of wire, had dis 
appeared, and neat clothes had taken their 
place. True, they could not shorten their 
elongated necks; but scarfs, neatly thrown 
around the neck, relieved the deformity. 

Reaching the place assigned to the mission 
aries, we found every convenience and com 
fort at hand which the people could possibly 
provide. The ground had been swept clean, neat 
booths had been built, and tables and benches 
had been conveniently placed; but the crowning 
feature of the joyful occasion appeared when 
we saw a great bunch of roses placed on one 
of the tables for our special enjoyment. How 
different from the first visit! Yet we saw not 
so much the beautiful flowers as we did the won 
derful transformation in this once savage peo 
ple. The regenerated men and women crowded 
about us with overflowing joy in their new life. 

Observing a woman who seemed specially 
happy, we said to her : " Sister, you seem very 
happy. What is the reason ? " " Oh," she re 
plied, " we worship Yuah ! When the teacher 
came to visit us years ago we knew neither Yuah 



The Miracle of Senite 145 

nor the teachers. Whether they had white 
hearts or black, we could not tell. Now we know 
that the teachers have white hearts." "But, 
sister, you have lost the ornaments you used to 
wear. Do you not miss them ? " She replied : 
" Oh, teacher, we were in bondage then. Now 
Jesus Christ has set us free; and there is only 
one woman in the village who will wear the 
brass wire." Then straightening herself, she 
exclaimed with emphasis, and not a little dis 
gust, " But she is a heathen." Her appreciation 
of the awfulness of her former condition could 
not have been better expressed. 

Lifting the roses, we gazed into their wonder 
ful depth of colour, and the prediction of Isaiah 
seemed fulfilled before us : " The wilderness and 
the solitary place shall be glad for them; and 
the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose." 
And there was even more love and Christian fel 
lowship exhibited in this gift when we learned 
that the rosebushes had been secured a year 
before for this very occasion by a two days 
journey over the mountain. The happy faces 
about us again declared with increasing empha 
sis, " The desert shall rejoice and blossom as the 
rose." 



146 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

This is the miracle of Senite. Only the power 
of Divine love could so change the heart of stone 
into a heart of flesh. Their love for Christ and 
faith in Him were simple and childlike, such as 
the Saviour specially commended. 

Many young men went from this village to 
become teachers in other villages. Their schools 
flourished greatly, and ten years later Senite 
was still on its upward course, preaching, teach 
ing, and living the Christ-life. 



XII 

PROVIDENTIAL CARE 

WHENEVER a child of God, pleading 
for special blessings, receives direct 
answers from his Heavenly Father, 
this is indeed a foretaste of heavenly bliss. Such 
records of God s dealings with His children are 
so numerous that, were they all recorded in 
books, the world would not be able to contain 
them. Happy he who, by stress of discipline, 
is driven to God for help. And what mission 
ary, relying solely upon God s guidance and de 
liverance in crises of his experience, has found 
His ear deaf to his petitions? Experiences il 
lustrating this fact are here recorded. 

A few years ago a fire broke out at midnight 
in the village of Kerway, in the Toungoo hills. 
It was a large village, having a church of nearly 
two hundred members. This fire occurred at 
the close of the dry season, when everything was 
parched, so that the entire village, including 
food supplies gathered for the rainy season, was 
147 



148 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

quickly destroyed. The families of five or six 
native pastors were also involved in this dis 
aster, as they had been left in the village while 
these pastors were pursuing evangelistic work 
in neighbouring places. Moreover, as Kerway 
occupied a central position in the hills, a large 
supply of school books and medicines had been 
stored there, and so were lost. 

The rainy season in Burma corresponds to 
winter in the temperate zones, and greatly re 
stricts travel and labour. So our situation was 
made more trying. Our plans for school work 
had been frustrated, and our evangelistic work 
was greatly impeded. Such a calamity threw a 
gloom over the whole mission; and the more so 
as its resources for the year had already been 
exhausted. How this necessity could be met was 
a problem we could not solve. In a few days 
teacher Kah Baw, the pastor of the church, with 
a delegation of its members, appeared at the 
missionary headquarters in Toungoo. They 
were half-clad, for they had escaped from the 
fire with only the clothes they had on, and hav 
ing lost everything, they were greatly depressed. 
They seated themselves on the floor, and, look 
ing up into the face of their missionary, Kah 



Providential Care 149 

Baw said : " Teacher, we have lost everything. 
Not even a Bible or hymn-book is left. What 
shall we do ? " Then he added : " My children, 
who live in a neighbouring village, have asked 
me to come to them, promising to give me food 
and clothes. But," added the dear old man, 
without the least thought he was doing a heroic 
act, " I cannot leave my people. The worship 
of God will be destroyed in my village, if I 
leave. I shall build me a little bamboo hut, and 
give them what strength and care I can. But, 
teacher, can you help us?" 

The teacher replied : " There is no money in 
the treasury, and already, to meet the needs of 
our evangelists, all the money we dare borrow 
has been advanced. We have therefore, dear 
brothers, no other source of help than our God. 
But He is sufficient." Many times we had bowed 
in prayer with Kah Baw in days past, when 
working together in building up this great mis 
sion ; and so we began to rehearse these deliver 
ances for the encouragement of this disheart 
ened band. " Yes," replied Kah Baw, " the God 
of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who never failed 
His ancient people, has certainly never failed 
us. We will take our case to Him." 



150 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

So we all bowed in prayer to God. The native 
Christians, as usual, prostrated themselves with 
their faces on the floor, and their petitions were 
remarkable for their simplicity and trust. They 
were like little children pleading with their lov 
ing father. This is characteristic of converts 
from heathenism. We felt completely dependent 
upon God s providential help, the most blessed 
necessity into which a child of God can come. 
There were few dry eyes in the little company 
when we arose from our knees. " Now, broth 
ers," said the teacher, " we must wait for God s 
answer." 

A small sum was given to Kah Baw to pur 
chase rice ; for they had fasted a long time. A 
weekly foreign mail was expected to reach 
Toungoo in two days. We were confidently 
looking for help in answer to our prayers, and 
thought it might come from America; though 
it was not the season to expect help from this 
source. In two days the mail from America 
arrived, and was unusually large. The first 
question suggested to us was, " Has God sent us 
help ? " The very first letter we opened dis 
closed a bright German stater. It came from 
an old school friend, from whom we had not 



Providential Care 151 

heard for years. This glad surprise, which 
should not have been a surprise to unfaltering 
faith, may be understood by some, though diffi 
cult to describe. It was as if a voice from 
heaven had said, " O thou of little iaith, where 
fore didst thou doubt? " Old Kah Baw and his 
friends were summoned; but before they 
reached us another letter was found containing 
a check for ten pounds, sent by a life-long helper 
in Providence, R. I. " There," said the teacher 
to Kah Baw, " is God s answer to our prayers ; 
enough to supply you and the other five teach 
ers with food for the rains, and also Bibles, 
hymn-books, and necessary clothes. Let us 
thank God for His gifts." 

There was a clear note of joy and victory in 
their thanksgiving. It is safe to say that Kah 
Baw and his followers, and as many as heard 
of this wonderful answer, and were partakers 
of its blessing, were confirmed believers in 
prayer to Yuah, and of His faithfulness as a 
prayer-hearing and prayer-answering God. 

The next mail brought another check for 
twelve additional pounds to meet any " inci 
dental needs." And the strange thing about it 
was that the donors of these gifts had sent them 



152 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

under the strong impression that God was di 
recting them in their offerings. 

But answers to prayer are not always as di 
rect as in the above instance. God often veils 
Himself in His providences, so that His answers 
to prayer are at times hidden, and may not be 
realised by the petitioner until the lapse of 
years. An experience came to us in our early 
missionary life which illustrates this fact. 

Our mission station was then located about 
a mile from the town of Toungoo in the jungle. 
We were beyond police protection, and had no 
white neighbours nearer than the town. Only 
the school children and frequent Karen visitors 
were with us. Robbers, called dacoits in Burma, 
were roaming about the country, singly and in 
companies, and were merciless in their deeds of 
violence. We had bestowed only a passing 
thought on these perils. We bowed in prayer 
morning and evening, committing the care of 
ourselves and our mission to our Heavenly Fa 
ther. We had firearms in the house, but had no 
thought of using them for defence. Our young 
est child was about six months old, and she 
had formed the habit of awaking about one or 
two o clock at night for a drink of water. So 



Providential Care 153 

habitual was this that her mother was accus 
tomed to place a glass of water on a stand by 
her bed. The servant was also requested to fill 
the earthen cooler on the sideboard every day, 
and this he usually did. On the night in ques 
tion the child awoke as usual, but by some over 
sight the glass of water was absent. I was asked 
to go to the cooler on the sideboard to supply 
the lack. There also I found no water. This 
was a surprise, and necessitated my going 
around the house on the veranda (we lived on 
the second story) to a filter. It was light 
enough to see clearly all objects near at hand. 
At the back of the house an ell projected, which 
was used for a bathroom. All the windows of 
the house were protected by wooden shutters, 
which we carefully barred at night. 

As I stooped to dip water from the filter, 
I happened (if anything happens by chance) to 
look across to the window in the ell, which I 
had barred that night. There I saw a Burman 
stark naked, hanging across the window-sill, 
with knife in hand, on the point of entering. He 
had pried open the window in some way, and 
the whole house was open to his will. It was, 
of course, impossible to know how many accom- 



154 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

plices he might have. There was nothing to 
hinder him and his fellows, if he had any, from 
reaching every room in the house. Only this 
discovery at the crucial moment, occasioned by 
the circumstances above narrated, enabled us to 
defend our house and family. 

This providential interposition in our behalf 
made a strong impression upon our hearts in 
all subsequent years. If it can be proved that 
God watches over His children carefully at all 
times, what rest should come to the faith of 
those who trust in Him ! We could not, in con 
sidering the events of that night, doubt that a 
loving intelligence had truly interposed for our 
protection. If we were to consider the doc 
trine of chances, there could not have been, in 
our conception, a combination of chance events 
to provide such definite results. 

Here are the events that combined to give us 
the necessary warning. First, the awakening of 
the little child at the fixed time; second, the 
forgetting to place the water on the stand as 
usual; third, the failure of the servant to put 
water into the cooler, and hence the necessity of 
going to the filter on the back veranda ; and these 
all so timed as to bring me to the danger-spot just 



Providential Care 155 

when needed. A minute earlier or later, and the 
robber would not have been discovered. Such 
a combination of events argued beyond reason 
able doubt that a wise and benevolent mind had 
our welfare in charge. God does not vacillate 
or change, like men, in His treatment of His chil 
dren. One clear case like the above guarantees 
His constant care. So we felt, and thus was our 
faith confirmed for days to come. One can 
realise with what gratitude we rested in the care 
of the loving Father ever after. Many can re 
call like providences in their lives. The foot 
steps of God are discerned only by the eye of 
faith; and how blessed is he who learns how to 
trace them. 

The outcome of this adventure also shows 
God s interposition. I looked for some weapon 
to attack the robber, as he was balanced on the 
window-sill, but even the brick, which had been 
for months beside the filter, had been removed, 
and nothing else presented itself. Seeing that 
the robber had become alarmed, I called to my 
wife in English, to bring my rifle, which stood 
at the head of my bed. She replied that she 
could not find it. In cleaning it, I had changed 
its position. Thus was I kept from shedding 



156 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

human blood. I then darted back through the 
house, rinding my gun on the way. Passing 
through the rear door, I fired into the air to 
convince any armed men that we were prepared 
for defence. The robber escaped, and we were 
left unharmed. Though we continued to live 
in the same place for many years, this was the 
only attempt at robbery that we experienced. 

Such manifest interpositions of God afford 
His devout children encouragement and trust 
beyond human estimate. These are experiences 
to be carefully treasured for help in the future 
battles of faith. 

A very notable experience of this kind 
comes to mind at this point worthy of record. 
The rainy season had passed, and the travelling 
season had arrived. There was great need that 
year for travel, since among the score of 
churches under the missionary s care there were 
some that sadly needed discipline. It cannot be 
expected that the best of churches organised 
from recent converts from heathenism will be 
better or more advanced than the average church 
in America. Divisions and misunderstandings 
will arise even in the home churches. How 
much more are they to be anticipated in a new 



Providential Care 157 

mission field. These divisions were a heavy 
burden on the heart of the missionary, and he 
hastened his tour of investigation. His bearers 
had assembled at his home, from the mountains, 
goods were packed in their baskets, and all was 
ready for a start in the morning. That night 
our little girl fell ill with a severe fever; and, 
being no better in the morning, how could we 
leave her for a month or more, carrying with us 
this additional load of anxiety? 

So I decided to send on the bearers, while I 
waited for a favourable change in the health of 
the child. In a day or so she had so much im 
proved that we set out for the mountains, taking 
with us three Karens and two saddle-ponies. 
I led the party through the thick jungle grass, 
which covered the whole plain, to the mountains, 
twenty miles distant. The jungle-path which 
we followed through the grass had been the 
haunt, through the rains, of a man-eating tiger, 
which was said to have killed more than a score 
of native people. These tigers are peculiarly 
fierce ; for, having lost their claws and teeth from 
old age, they are no longer able to pull down 
the jungle animals that form their usual food. 
They, therefore, beset some jungle trail and prey 



1 5 8 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

on human beings, whom they easily capture. 
Being full of care and anxiety about the sick 
child I had left, and also about the state of my 
churches, I quite forgot the tiger, and tramped 
along ahead of my attendants. After travelling 
six or eight miles through the dense grass, which 
was eight or ten feet in height, I came to a jun 
gle stream flowing across the path. As I ap 
proached the bank a hornbill arose from the 
bushes on the opposite side and flew into the 
top of a small tree. This surprised me, as the 
bird is seldom seen save on the highest trees. 
As the Karens are specially fond of its flesh, 
I shot the bird. And that shot not only killed 
the bird, but apparently saved my own life, for 
the tiger had been stalking me through the jun 
gle, as a cat does a mouse, seeking a good chance 
to pounce upon me. This he certainly would 
have had at this ford. I heard his leaps into 
the jungle very near me; and the ponies, scent 
ing the beast, as they are quick to do, were so 
frightened, together with the three Karens who 
were leading them, that the latter began to shout 
to me : " Oh, teacher, we are all dead men, for 
there is a tiger about! The ponies will break 
away from us ! " I shouted back : " The tiger 



Providential Care 159 

has gone! Fear not! Come on! Surely God 
has delivered us ! " 

We crossed the brook, and joyfully continued 
our journey. The manifest interposition of God 
in our behalf had taught us to put our trust 
implicitly in Him. And we felt rebuked, as well 
as comforted; for God, who could so easily pro 
tect us from the wild beast, could as easily heal 
our little child and care for the churches which 
Christ had bought with His own blood. 



XIII 

THE MAGIC DOUGHNUT 

FOR those who have eyes to see there are 
many beautiful flowers in the Lord s 
spiritual garden. These are often found 
in obscure and unexpected places among men, 
but always bear the mark of their heavenly 
origin. What rose or pink can match the mar 
vellous beauty of Divine love, or self-denial, or 
thoughtfulness for others good? Their fra 
grance is sweeter far than that of the most 
fragrant orchid of the tropics; and when we 
suddenly come within their range, our souls are 
delighted, and we give thanks. 

One travelling season in the Burman moun 
tains, while on a tour among the churches, I 
came to a large village on a mountain-top, and, 
having completed my inspection of the church 
and school, I retired to my tent for the night. 
A feeling of loneliness came over me, caused, 
it may be, by long absence from my native 
land and weeks of separation from the society 
160 



The Magic Doughnut 161 

of our mission headquarters. For relief, I set 
tled down to read, when some one outside the 
tent-door began calling " Tharah ! Tharah ! " 
which means " Teacher ! Teacher ! " 

With a slight impatience I laid down my 
book, thinking it to be another application for 
medicine, and opened the tent-door. There 
stood a Karen woman with a large lacquered 
tray, on which was placed what seemed to me, 
in such a place, almost a miracle. When one is 
told that there was not an ounce of wheat flour 
in all those mountains, he may be able to share 
my surprise at seeing a tray of New England 
doughnuts, having the right colour and shape, 
and the regulation hole in the centre. 

Questioning the woman, I found that, when 
she learned of the coming of the missionary, her 
kind and thoughtful Christian heart moved her 
to prepare a glad surprise for him. She had 
spent the previous afternoon in pounding rice 
in a wooden mortar and sifting it through a 
piece of gauze, to obtain rice flour for the cov 
eted doughnuts. She fashioned them into the 
required form, and cooked them in lard. " But," 
I asked, " how did you know how to make 
them?" "Oh," she replied, "years ago, when 



1 62 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

at school in the city, I used to help the Mama 
about her cooking, and sometimes, when an 
other missionary would visit her, she would 
make these strange cakes, and the visitors al 
ways seemed very happy to see them. I thought 
they must have some magic about them, so when 
I heard that you were coming to our village, I 
planned to make some to surprise you." 

Then we understood the magic of the cakes. 
For occasionally, when missionaries met for a 
brief season, they endeavoured to secure some 
article of food which would bring back memo 
ries of earlier home-days, and this often took 
the form of the New England doughnut 

No heathen woman would thus have remem 
bered us. It was as the ripe fruit of the Spirit 
of Christ, or a flower from the heavenly garden, 
blooming on the hill-top among the Toungoo jun 
gles. It is true, when we came to sample the 
cakes, that they were hard and indigestible; but, 
being mixed with Christian love, nothing could 
have delighted the palate more than these. They 
proved truly to be the " magic doughnut." 



XIV 

A NOTABLE MISSIONARY JOURNEY 

IN the cold season of 1882, it was decided 
in family counsel that we all should attend 
the annual Association. The two women 
missionaries of the station were also to accom 
pany us. Our party numbered six, including our 
two girls of eight and five years respectively. 
Some of the native school children also accom 
panied us. The plan was to spend two months 
on the mountains among the churches, and also 
to make an extended tour among the heathen 
Brecs. This was no slight undertaking; for it 
involved travelling over broad plains and up 
steep, rugged mountains, with the fording of 
rapid mountain streams. The problem was how 
to transport the little folks, and how to take sup 
plies for so long a journey. We would need 
everything in the line of food, except chickens, 
eggs, and rice. These we could obtain along our 
way. We would also need to take clothing and 
bedding, and medicines for the sick. For trans- 
163 



164 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

portation we had the native pony, a hardy beast, 
small but strong, and well adapted for such a 
journey. We also had twenty-nine native bear 
ers to carry the goods. 

During the first days of the new year our 
twenty-nine packs were ready for the bearers, 
and by eleven o clock on Friday morning we had 
crossed the river and entered the great forest. 
Thus began one of the most momentous jungle 
tours in our missionary life of forty years. 

The first night found us ten miles on our 
journey, and encamped in a beautiful grove of 
bamboos by a stream of clear, running water. 
It was a charming, moonlight evening, and our 
company was buoyant in spirit, including the 
school children, just freed from their year s con 
finement at study. As we had few cooking uten 
sils, the preparation of food was carried on by 
the native disciples through the night. The hum 
of conversation, with the stirring about of the 
busy natives, disturbed our sleep, yet before sun 
rise we were again on the march. 

At first the little girls were carried in woven 
bamboo hammocks, made by the natives. When 
the way became steep and crooked, these were 
discarded, and the native pastors carried the 



A Notable Missionary Journey 165 

children on their backs, much to the little girls 
delight. Their carriers also pleased them by 
climbing trees to get beautiful and fragrant or 
chids for them. But the greater part of the 
journey was made by the little folks on foot. 

Our second day s journey was through dense 
forests, along the bed of a mountain stream. 
Tropical plants everywhere abounded, and with 
these were some that we had loved in the home 
land; while over all towered the majestic for 
est trees, interlaced with large creepers, whose 
flowering festoons lent a unique charm to our 
journey. Before night we had crossed the first 
range of mountains and reached a Christian vil 
lage, where we prepared to spend the Lord s 
Day. A plat of ground had been cleared by the 
native disciples for our tent. They had also pro 
vided wood, water, and everything possible for 
our comfort. 

Monday morning we were off again for the 
Association. Between us and the Association 
grounds lay a deep gulf, at the bottom of which 
ran a swift mountain stream. This stream for 
untold ages had been cutting its way through the 
mountain ranges, in some places to a depth of 
more than a thousand feet. In some places it 



1 66 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

could not be forded, and suspension bridges of 
swinging or floating bamboo had been made for 
the accommodation of travellers. We reached 
the edge of this deep gulf about nine o clock in 
the morning; and, while making the descent, we 
observed above the river another river of fog, 
which seemed to be flowing parallel with it. 
Penetrating this, we quickly passed out of the 
bright sunshine into twilight. The women of the 
party found much discomfort in walking through 
the jungle bushes, drenched with the mist, and 
on reaching the river at the bottom of the gulf, 
all were in a bedraggled condition. 

A narrow, floating bridge had been made for 
our crossing. It would support only two at a 
time, and even then sank several inches, requiring 
some nerve to cross it in safety. But we all 
went over barefooted, shoes in hand and heart 
in mouth. The sun at last having dissipated the 
fog, we began the steep ascent. For this work 
the mountain ponies and barefooted Karens were 
admirably fitted. That night we reached the 
Association grounds and went into camp. 

Early the following day the clans began to 
gather; and, as we stood on the elevated ground 
occupied by our camp, the scene about us was 



A Notable Missionary Journey 167 

most inspiring. Groups of delegates and school 
children in their bright holiday dress were coming 
from every quarter to the camp. As the com 
panies wound round the hill-tops, and over the 
mountain ridges through the forests of bamboos, 
all intent upon the service of the one blessed 
Lord, our hearts were filled with gratitude and 
praise. The scene was well calculated to sug 
gest those happy days in the history of God s an 
cient people, when from every quarter of their 
holy land they wended their way to Jerusalem 
to observe the annual feast of the passover, and, 
reaching the hill-tops overlooking the sacred city 
with its magnificent temple, their voices broke 
forth in jubilant songs of praise to the great 
Jehovah. 

The exercises occupied two days, including 
the regular business of the Association, inter 
spersed with gospel songs by the numerous 
schools that were represented. And all this took 
place in a country only a few years before swept 
by tribal wars and the horrible practices of 
heathenism. 

The site of the Association was on the range 
of mountains next to the watershed. This range 
towered thousands of feet above us, yet seemed 



1 68 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

very near. As we stood looking over the scene, 
there suddenly burst upon our ears the report 
of guns and the discordant beating of drums. 
All the villagers rushed forward to see what 
this might mean. We saw approaching in the 
distance a large band of armed men. They were 
coming from the land of the dreaded Brecs. 
Immediately fear fell upon the assembled host; 
for, said they, " These men are coming to fulfil 
their threat to break up our meetings." 

Meanwhile, the Brecs were rapidly approach 
ing, their discordant music echoing among the 
hills. Their leaders were known to our native 
missionaries, and were quickly introduced to us. 
The chief was a giant, and looked to be any 
thing but a savage. His name was Howee (The 
"Blessed"). We welcomed them so cordially 
that they soon appeared to feel quite at home, 
and declared they had come to secure teachers 
of the " new religion " for their people. The 
change of feeling among the assembled clans, 
on hearing this good news, was very great. The 
gong sounded for the assembling of the people, 
and the service became one of earnest praise for 
this direct answer to their prayers, for God had 
given them an open door into this savage tribe. 



A Notable Missionary Journey 169 

Howee and his wild men watched the proceed 
ings with intense interest, and later he declared 
that, if the white missionaries would visit his 
people, he believed they would turn to the wor 
ship of the living God. 

Our mission party subsequently determined to 
divide. One part was to travel on the western 
side of the watershed, while the other would 
follow the lead of Howee and his savage band 
back to their country. This was a great under 
taking, for that towering range of mountains 
before us must be crossed, and what awaited us 
beyond them none could foretell. 

From our camp the distance to the foot of the 
high range seemed short; yet it required two 
days march to reach it. We were now in a 
very wild country, seldom, if ever, traversed by 
a white man. We were told that the road up 
the mountain was impossible to ascend; but an 
intelligent Karen preceded us and cut a pass 
able path around the obstacles, while our nimble 
bearers climbed the face of the almost im 
passable cliff to the road beyond. We camped 
at night, after passing the first difficulties of the 
journey, on a narrow ridge, with the giant for 
ests about us, while above the tree-tops towered 



1 70 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

the mountains we must yet cross. Our party 
consisted of the missionary, his wife and chil 
dren, and native evangelists, led by Howee and 
more than thirty of his men, besides a throng 
of savages from the surrounding villages, at 
tracted by curiosity. 

Our native Christians had built bonfires, 
which we found very acceptable in the crisp 
evening air. The cook and the natives were 
soon all busy preparing the evening meal. Later 
all the company gathered for a meeting of 
prayer and praise, at which many of the sav 
ages heard the gospel for the first time. They 
could not grasp its meaning, yet showed an at 
tentive and friendly spirit. Then followed a 
season of conversation between the mission 
aries and the natives, in which many questions 
were asked and answered. This was followed 
on the part of the natives by an exhibition of 
their skill in throwing the spear, in which they 
greatly excelled. We in turn showed them an 
unloaded revolver, which excited their wonder. 
When told it was a weapon for shooting, some 
handled it with undisguised contempt, seemingly 
thinking that so small a thing was not to be 
feared. But when we slipped several cartridges 



A Notable Missionary Journey 171 

into place, selected a mark in a safe position, and 
rapidly discharged the " baby gun," their aston 
ishment was beyond description. The loudness 
of the report and the effect of so small a gun 
upon the mark were so great that the more sav 
age among them were ready to fall down and 
worship it. It served as a good warning for 
those who were unfriendly or disposed to look 
with greed upon our luggage, which was to them 
of untold wealth. In all our future journeyings 
on this tour, though often separated from our 
luggage, which was carried by these same or 
sknilar savages, nothing was lost. 

The night was spent by the native preachers 
telling the story of the cross, and in answering 
numerous questions asked by the wild men 
camping with us. Two o clock found all the na 
tives astir, cooking their breakfast in order to 
make an early start for the next mountain s 
climb. Our camp being a little removed from 
the main encampment, refreshing sleep was se 
cured till the morning star appeared. Then we 
awoke, and, after breakfast in the early dawn 
under the trees, we started on our day s jour 
ney. Our large company, in single file, now be 
gan the hardest climb of the trip. The moun- 



172 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

tain was so steep in places that we were obliged 
to use both hands and feet in making the ascent. 
As no water could be secured along the way, all 
had provided themselves with bamboo bottles 
filled with water and food. Looking back at 
our large company winding in and out among 
the trees, it presented an impressive scene. The 
sun was just shooting its yellow rays across the 
landscape, the air was crisp and invigorating, 
and the Christians of our party, full of good 
cheer, caused the mountain-tops to echo with 
their hymns of praise; while the heathen of the 
company, bearing their heavy loads, tramped si 
lently and stolidly on and up. During the ascent 
we were often obliged to stop for a rest, and 
how like a beautiful dream the landscape below 
unrolled before us. Each stop brought out new 
and wonderful views. 

By eleven o clock we drew near the top of 
the range, and what we had thought to be rock 
proved to be brown grass, which the frost had 
killed. Stunted trees grew to the very crown 
of the range, and to our New England eyes took 
the form of an orchard of apple-trees. We were 
soon among them, and found ourselves in the 
habitat of a great variety of choice orchids. The 



A Notable Missionary Journey 173 

air was loaded with their sweetness. Our school 
boys cast down their burdens, and were soon 
climbing the trees and gathering armfuls of 
these wonders of the tropics. Our little girls 
for once had all the flowers they could desire; 
and as each boy brought in his contribution and 
cast it down at their feet, they were almost cov 
ered with the blossoms. 

We were now near the summit. One more 
climb and the long company filed out upon the 
ridge of the mountain. We had agreed not to 
look back until the top was reached; and here, 
upon a rock floor over six thousand feet above 
the sea, we gazed with bewildered delight upon 
the most magnificent mountain scenery we had 
ever beheld. 

Looking westward, over our long pathway, 
we were first attracted by the four ranges run 
ning north and south, over which we had so la 
boriously climbed. The farthest range, almost 
absorbed in the distant blue, marked the line 
between the mountain system and the plains of 
Toungoo. The mountains were broken into 
sharp peaks and cragged precipices, and yet they 
were beautifully symmetrical in their disorder. 
The line marking the river we had crossed, and 



174 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

its gulf, stretched from extreme north to ex 
treme south, and looked like a ribbon of bur 
nished silver where the waters reflected the sun 
light. 

Some one has said, " How like a cauldron of 
violently boiling water suddenly congealed, the 
mountain ranges appear." The truth of this 
simile was there impressed upon me. As we 
gazed, new surprises sprang up from every 
quarter. Trees near at hand covered with bril 
liant flowers, and the shadows from clouds float 
ing across the landscape in swift flight, gave us 
a scene of surpassing beauty. The calls of 
baboons, sounding like a company of boys just 
out of school, the chatter of monkeys in the dis 
tant groves, the screaming of flocks of bright 
paraquets, the call of strange birds, and the hum 
of bees surrounded us. A more careful ob 
servation of the plants and trees in the imme 
diate neighbourhood moved us to almost tearful 
delight as we discovered grasses, poverty weed, 
mother-wort, wandering Jew, everlasting, and 
bright patches of red coxcomb, all of which we 
knew in the dear home-land. Then there was 
a variety of tropical trees and plants, including 
the giant fern, the dwarf palms, their feathery 



A Notable Missionary Journey 175 

leaves loaded with seeds, and the wild goose 
berry of the tropics growing on trees ten to 
fifteen feet in height. 

As we stood contemplating these physical 
wonders we recalled the fact that this vast 
mountain region, only a few years before, was 
filled with the gloom of absolute savagery, vil 
lage at war with village, and clan with clan, the 
hills resounding with the confusion of battle 
and the discordant cries of heathen. But now, 
while gazing on the enchanting scene, we could 
justly add to it the glory of a redeemed land. 
Within the sphere of our vision there were now 
seventy-five fully organised churches of Christ, 
fifty schools filled with boys and girls of vigor 
ous minds and a consuming thirst for knowl 
edge, and ninety-one teachers, ordained and un- 
ordained, ministering to these churches, and 
preaching among the villages yet in heathenism. 
The little brown spots in the vivid green of the 
forests, and the columns of smoke in the 
distant blue, marked the sites of these vil 
lages. How many journeys filled with anxiety 
had been made back and forth among these 
mountain ranges in the past. Standing on our 
high lookout, with supreme exultation in the 



176 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

love and power of Christ to save the lost, we 
girded ourselves anew to look upon the dark 
scenes in the east; for, in a certain sense, this 
mountain range marked the boundary between 
the past years of conquest and the victories yet 
to be won for our Prince Emmanuel. 

Then looking eastward we saw a duplicate 
view of the western prospect, yet in many re 
spects dissimilar. There was the same view of 
mountains, though these were more precipitous, 
range beyond range of north and south trend, 
vanishing in the far horizon. We had, how 
ever, reached a semi-tropical climate. There 
were groves of stately pines, and even at our 
feet stood a friend from our home-land the 
graceful birch, fraternising with the bamboo. 
But we knew that the brown spots in the vivid 
green no longer marked places where God was 
worshipped. No white missionary had ever vis 
ited this field. Very few native pastors had ven 
tured into this country. Only Soo Thah and his 
companions had passed over the road, and 
preached the gospel in any village. As a result 
of Soo Thah s work we were on our journey, at 
the invitation of Howee, to visit the heart of 
the country now spread out before us. How 



A Notable Missionary Journey 177 

gloomy and dark it appeared to us in contrast 
with the western side. The same sun was shin 
ing brightly upon these ragged mountain peaks, 
but not a single disciple of Christ was there. 
Neither chapel nor school, harbingers of a Chris 
tian civilisation, had yet been established in all 
this region. 

In our meditations at that hour, there came 
to us the inspiring words of Isaiah, " How 
beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of 
him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth 
peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that 
publisheth salvation " ; and our hearts were 
cheered by the prospect presented to our faith, 
that we should see the time in the near future 
when these mountains would break forth in 
songs of praise to the great Redeemer. 

Gathering up our baggage, we started down 
the eastern side of the mountain. We were now 
on the border of Howee s country, the land of 
the dreaded Brecs; and what was our surprise 
to find, instead of tangled paths, a broad road 
cleared for us of all underbrush. And in many 
places these dear heathen had swept the road 
clear of twigs and leaves. This token of kind 
reception put our party in the best of spirits, 



178 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

and the little girls scampered down the moun 
tain like lambs at play, and the disciples broke 
forth in hymns of praise. We found, too, that 
these thoughtful heathen had brought bamboo 
buckets of clear, cool water from some spring, 
and had put them in convenient places for our 
refreshment. Then further down we came upon 
bamboo buckets rilled with steaming rice, which 
the young heathen women had prepared for the 
party. 

Coming out in a little opening of the pines, we 
saw the village of our quest, nestling in the curve 
of a precipitous hill, rising before us. It was ap 
parently nearby, yet for two hours or more we 
tramped steadily on, so crooked was the road, 
winding in and out among the hills. Passing 
round a projecting spur, we came suddenly upon 
the village; yet not unexpectedly, for we had 
noticed runners at different points, who sud 
denly disappeared, doubtless to announce our 
approach. Our appearance was a signal for 
an outbreak of intense excitement. Few of the 
people had ever seen a white person, or even a 
pony. They seemed to think that the riders 
were a part of, the ponies! Some screamed out 
in terror, and others were too frightened to flee. 



A Notable Missionary Journey 179 

Some women were dipping water from the 
brook we had to cross, and one old mother, 
who had just filled her bucket with water, 
pounded it upon the ground, exclaiming, " Ah- 
wee ! Ah-wee " an expression of supreme sur 
prise. Soon our company had dismounted, and, 
the first fright of the people having passed, we 
all began making friends. They had heard 
something about shaking hands, as a sign of 
fellowship; so some, observing the hand 
shaking, approached with the offer of their own 
hands. The amphitheatre was crowded with 
houses, leaving no space for pitching our tent; 
so a shelf on the rocks above the village was 
prepared for this purpose. 

We tarried among this people for a week, 
preaching the good news and seeking to per 
suade them to turn from their heathen practices 
to the worship and service of the true God. 
They were apparently tired and sick of the lives 
they had been leading, and were especially 
groaning under their galling bondage to the 
" nats," or evil spirits, which they imagined were 
swarming about them, and ever seeking their 
ruin. For this cause they seemed the more will 
ing to consider our message and follow our 



180 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

counsels. As the particulars of this missionary 
work are given in our book, " Soo Thah," we 
will not repeat them here. Suffice it to say that 
the people generally turned away from their old 
superstitions and honestly sought to walk in the 
Christian way, as their evangelist teachers should 
guide them. 

Thus were we led to hope that the gospel of 
Christ would win its way among these wild 
people, who had been the terror of our adjoining 
mission outposts; and this hope did not fail of 
blessed fruition. 

At the time of our departure the natives 
crowded about us in the best of feeling to shake 
hands ; for they said, " We are all now in the 
worship of Jehovah, and we are so glad." They 
showed their gladness by their happy looks and 
hearty handshakes. We parted, with their joy 
ous cries in our ears : " Now we worship Jeho 
vah ! Now we worship Jehovah ! " And so we 
filed away down the path on our day s journey. 

During the next two or three weeks, we were 
constantly travelling from village to village 
through some of the grandest mountain scenery. 
Our course took us back among the disciples 
on the watershed range, and our time was spent 



A Notable Missionary Journey 181 

in strengthening weak churches, and in found 
ing new interests. The delight of the rich 
scenery and the fragrant pine woods through 
which we passed far outweighed all weariness 
and gave us constant joy. 

And yet our pleasures were not without some 
annoying interruptions. For instance, one day, 
after climbing a very steep mountain, we came to 
a deserted village. Our followers had gone ahead 
with the little girls, while we followed. Stopping 
a moment to look at the spot occupied by the 
village, we were suddenly attacked by myriads of 
fleas, which drove us to a precipitous flight. This 
revealed the reason why the Karens often desert 
their villages. The ever-increasing vermin drive 
them to new localities. The ground of this de 
serted village was so covered with the fleas that 
it took their colour. 

Our remaining journey for the day was 
through a dense jungle up the mountain-side 
and along its towering ridge, from which we 
caught wonderful views on either side. At night 
we camped on the top of the range at the head 
of a deep ravine that ran down to the foot of 
the mountain. It had been threatening rain all 
the afternoon, and now from our encampment, 



1 82 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

where the sun was shining brightly, we looked 
down upon the black clouds, heaving like a rag 
ing sea, while through them darted shafts of 
blinding lightning. As the clouds were slowly 
rising towards us, no little uneasiness was felt 
about the possible effect of the tempest. Tent 
ropes were tightened, and ditches dug around 
our tents. 

The natives had cut paths into the high grass, 
and prepared neat shelters for dry weather, but 
they were no protection against a rainstorm. 
When the night began to shut in, the clouds 
swept upward like the rushing charge of an 
army, the main part, however, passing up a 
neighbouring ravine, much to our relief. Yet a 
part of the tempest struck our encampment. The 
downpour of rain, mingled with the roar of 
the wind and the reverberation of the thunder 
claps from the surrounding mountain-peaks, was 
almost terrifying in its grandeur. Our natives 
could hardly be expected to appreciate this 
grandeur, as their frail shelters were torn down 
by the wind, and the rain deluged them. The 
cook had prepared a nice shelter for his pots 
and kettles, which the wind scattered, and his 
dumb wife, greatly frightened, added to the gen- 



A Notable Missionary Journey 183 

eral confusion by her efforts to express her dis 
may. This caused much merriment among the 
people. The storm passed as speedily as it had 
risen, but the memory of the thunder reverberat 
ing among the mountain-tops remained with us 
a long time. 

The next morning we arose early, much re 
freshed, and ready for our northward journey. 
It was along the boundary between the English 
territory and the independent tribes to the east 
ward. The travelling was hard, yet relieved by 
the grandeur of the scenery. After several days 
journeying amid the marvels of nature, we 
reached the extreme northern limit of our mis 
sion field, Yahdo valley, which we have already 
described. The change from mountain travel to 
that of the broad, open pathway of the valley 
was grateful to us all. 

On our arrival in Yahdo, the numerous Chris 
tians extended to us a very hearty greeting. 
Many willing hands made the work of pitching 
our tents easy, and we were soon at rest. How 
delightful, after spending so long a time among 
the unsympathising heathen, to enjoy the close 
and warm fellowship of our Christian brethren. 
Here we spent a week of strenuous work. We 



184 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

found five candidates for baptism awaiting our 
arrival. On Saturday their examination took 
place, and the baptism was appointed for the 
morrow. The news spread quickly through the 
surrounding villages that a baptism among the 
Christians was to take place. 

So early Sunday morning people began to 
gather from all quarters to the appointed place. 
This was a beautiful, clear pool in the 
mountain stream, overshadowed by willows. 
The sun shone brightly, and all nature seemed at 
peace. Yet what a strange company had gath 
ered to witness this Christian ordinance, for 
the most part savages, wild-eyed, armed with 
spears and swords. They said, among them 
selves, that the teacher was going to put some 
men and women under the water to see 
" Yuah." Where they got this idea no one 
could tell. The five candidates, three of them 
women, stood beside the pool. The young men 
and women of the church stood near, hymn- 
books in hand. The missionary also was there. 
The Holy Spirit seemed to overshadow the lit 
tle assembly of disciples, and all felt His pres 
ence. The multitude of heathen also seemed to 
be under some spell, for they ceased their con- 



A Notable Missionary Journey 185 

versation, and the whole company appeared rev 
erent. One of the candidates had waited two 
years for baptism, hoping that his wife would 
join him in this public confession of faith in 
Christ. She now stood by his side for this pur 
pose, and his happiness was complete. The 
simple Scriptural ceremony of burial with Christ 
and resurrection to newness of life, with the ac 
companiment of prayer and singing, was vastly 
more impressive than when observed in the most 
stately sanctuary. The native pastor adminis 
tered the baptism, the benediction was pro 
nounced, and the vast and strangely constituted 
assembly scattered without confusion to their 
homes. 

In the afternoon the right hand of fellowship 
was given to the new members of the church, 
and the Lord s Supper observed. Monday and 
Tuesday, meetings were held in the interests of 
the mission, and everything was set in order. 
Wednesday we turned homeward for the City 
of Toungoo. After five days of wearisome 
travel, we reached our own home again. The 
journey of two months had been made largely 
on foot, even by the little girls. No happier 
missionary tour could have been devised and ex- 



1 86 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

perienced, and, in view of the amount of work 
accomplished, it could hardly have been more 
useful. We could but recognise in it the good 
hand of our God, and we ascribed to Him all 
the glory. 



XV 

THE GOSPEL AND THE SAVAGE BRECS 

THIS people, as shown in the previous chap 
ter, were located beyond the great range 
of mountains which form the eastern wa 
tershed, and also the boundary between English 
territory and the independent tribes. On the 
western side of this watershed the gospel had 
been introduced and churches established. In 
1865, when we entered this mission field, there 
were nine organised churches. Hundreds of vil 
lages were yet groping in heathen darkness. But 
year by year the gospel extended its peace 
ful conquests, until this highest mountain barrier 
was reached. 

Oftentimes the missionary, amidst his slow 
conquests, would cast wistful eyes to the distant, 
mysterious east, wondering what kind of people 
dwelt there. It was to him a terra incognita. 
Frequent raids were made by these savages into 
the English territory, burning villages and slaugh 
tering the inhabitants; but little was known of 
187 



1 88 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

these hostile people, save that they were reported 
to be exceedingly savage and cruel. This fact 
was clearly shown by their murderous raids. 

In course of time the conquests of the gos 
pel among the eastern mountains had pushed 
the line of light up to the borders of this un 
known land. Often the native pastors and evan 
gelists considered the question of visiting this 
land. But the reports of the savage cruelties 
of the Brecs were rehearsed as a serious objec 
tion to any attempt to evangelise them. There 
were many reports of traders who had visited 
the country and never returned; and of others 
who had returned stripped of everything, even 
to their clothes. To enter such a territory, it 
was urged, would be to challenge death. Spies 
had been sent into the land to discover if evan 
gelists could safely enter, but they brought no 
encouragement. However, the interest in these 
tribes among the native Christians was steadily 
increasing. 

At last, in one of the annual meetings of the 
churches, the question of a mission to the Brec 
Karens was brought forward and earnestly dis 
cussed. It was easy to see that something ought 
to be done for these savage people, but by what 



The Gospel and the Savage Brecs 189 

agency it was difficult to determine. Finally 
it was decided that it must be undertaken as 
in apostolic times. Accordingly, volunteers were 
sought to go across the mountains. 

Young men were soon found who were will 
ing to attempt this hazardous work. Their re 
ception in the Brec country was at first most 
hostile. They were accused of being spies, and 
were surrounded by armed and threatening men. 
But, filled with apostolic zeal and courage, they 
overcame all opposition by the book they car 
ried (the "white book" in the traditions of the 
people), and by their sweet singing. Thus hos 
tility was changed into a friendly greeting. 

The settlement into which these messengers 
entered was one of the most savage in the whole 
Brec country. It consisted of a series of vil 
lages located in a broad amphitheatre, formed 
by horseshoe-curved cliffs three or four hundred 
feet in height, thus making a natural stronghold. 
Here the first messengers of the gospel were 
received, and the confidence of the people won. 
In succeeding years other young men joined this 
mission, and a small school was begun. The 
difficulties that confronted them in this pioneer 
work are indescribable. But the declaration of 



190 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

the gospel the love of God, the coming of His 
Son, His life, teaching, sacrificial death, and 
resurrection, applied to the hearts of the peo 
ple by the Holy Spirit, gradually wrought its 
work here as elsewhere, bringing souls to re 
pentance and to the beginning of a new life. 

On the first visit of a white missionary, the 
villagers assembled and asked him to destroy 
for them their symbols of heathen worship. 
This was a great step, and marked their 
sincerity in asking for a teacher to tell them of 
Yuah. At first it seemed as if the whole vil 
lage had turned to God; but it was far other 
wise. Yet never was the Spirit s work in con 
nection with the preaching of the gospel made 
more manifest. One might expect that the more 
intelligent would first show signs of a new life; 
but it was not uncommon for the less intelli 
gent among them to be first in giving abiding 
evidence that they had truly passed from death 
into life. 

The reformation of this village was slow, and 
only as the people grasped the idea that God s son 
had come to earth, and borne their sins upon 
the cross. They readily understood the substi 
tution of the innocent for the guilty, and hum- 



The Gospel and the Savage Brecs 191 

bly accepted Christ s redemptive work in their 
behalf. This thought wrought mightily in the 
hearts of even the most simple-minded, in awak 
ening love to Christ as an incentive to right liv 
ing. Nor was this reformation confined, in its 
effects, to those who came to trust in Christ. 
It changed the life of the whole village, and 
seemed to awaken in the hearts of all a new 
sense of propriety and of upright living. 

From the first, even among the most degraded, 
there seemed to be a clear sense of the prin 
ciples of right and wrong. We never needed 
to convince them of personal sin and guilt. They 
recognised these facts, and, because of them, 
they declared that " Yuah had forsaken them." 
To them the good news was the declaration of 
a new fact: namely, that Jesus Christ came to 
save them from their sins, and to make it pos 
sible, through their repentance and trust in Him, 
to become the sons of God. These truths were 
ever foremost in our dealing with these savage 
races. Other villages saw the prosperity which 
had come to this leading village, after they had 
adopted the worship of God, and so called for 
teachers that they might follow in this way. 

An incident that added vitally in leading the 



192 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

people to this change occurred most fortunately 
at a time when it would accomplish most for 
the good cause. One of the most prominent of 
the Brec chiefs, Tee Peh, with a large body of 
his followers, stood out in opposition to this 
regeneration of his tribe; and after a number 
of years, when several villages had become set 
tled in their new worship, his opposition broke 
out into open violence. There being no law 
among these tribes, the weak were unprotected. 
From the beginning of the preaching of the gos 
pel among these villages, the return of " Yuah " 
(the God of their traditions), to a beneficent care 
of His children, had been prominent in the faith 
of the new disciples. 

A council was held at Tee Peh s village to 
consider the question of an attack upon the 
Christian villages. Tee Peh and his followers, 
who were suffering from pressure of famine, 
seeing Christian villages well supplied with food, 
became envious of their prosperity. Having 
heard that the Yuah of the Christians had re 
turned to them, and had made them the object 
of His care, they were doubtful of the success 
of such an attack. Some of his people opposed, 
on the ground that Yuah was a living God and 



The Gospel and the Savage Brecs 193 

lived among His children, and that their pros 
perity proved this. Tee Peh, however, urged 
that they did not really know that Yuan was a 
living God till they should put Him to proof. 
Like the cunning old heathen that he was, he 
proposed that a test case be made. They would 
make a raid upon a Christian village, seize some 
of the children, if possible, and hold them for 
ransom. If Yuah came for them, they would 
deliver them up, and so escape punishment; if 
He did not come, they would know surely that 
Yuah was like the dead gods of the Burmans, 
and they would then have nothing to fear 
from Him. 

The majority of Tee Pen s followers were 
enthusiastic over this plan of their leader, and 
were ready to execute it. The Christians, hav 
ing heard of this council, and the plans of Tee 
Peh, were filled with alarm. Their faith, yet in 
its infancy, was small in proportion to the crisis 
presented to them. Their teachers consulted 
over the situation with the missionary, and were 
urged to meet the test with prayer and faith. 
Examples of conquering faith in similar circum 
stances in the Old Testament times were freely 
discussed. 



194 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

During the following rainy season, Tee Peh, 
with a band of his followers, carried out his 
threat. He attacked one of the Christian vil 
lages and got away with two captive children. 
Runners came at once to the mission headquar 
ters, in the city of Toungoo, with letters in 
forming us of what had occurred. We saw that 
the old chief had thrown down the gage of 
battle to the Christians in his tribe, and that 
they must take it up, or acknowledge a defeat. 
Such a defeat filled us with dread. It would 
stop all further advance of spiritual work among 
the Brec tribe, if it did not break up the churches 
already gathered. It would strengthen doubt 
among the many churches on the west side of 
the watershed and paralyse the work of the na 
tive evangelists in the whole field. 

This was clearly a spiritual warfare. The 
native Christians so regarded it. It was clear 
that we could not oppose force with force; nor 
was there any possible help save in the almighty 
power of Jehovah Jireh, the God of missions. 
We took the letter into our private room, and 
spread it before the Lord of glory, and appealed 
to Him for help. He gave to us a satisfying 
assurance of gracious succour. 






The Gospel and the Savage Brecs 195 

Letters were sent to the churches, the case 
plainly stated, and prayer asked. The elders 
and devout men were summoned to meet over 
the mountains, near the seat of trouble in the 
Brec country, as soon as the rains ceased, that 
we might seek a way of deliverance for the cap 
tive children. In due time the elders, and all 
who were interested, gathered from all the 
churches at the village of Sau-pe-le-cho for this 
new kind of warfare. During the time that 
elapsed from the capture of the children to that 
of this assembling of the Christian workers, the 
excitement greatly increased. It is true, said 
they, that God delivered His ancient people many 
times from their enemies; but the Karens are a 
poor people, and few in numbers. Perhaps He 
would deliver the white people, but will He take 
pity on us Karens? It became for them a test 
question of absorbing interest. At our place of 
meeting were assembled a great body of dis 
ciples, and two days were spent in conference 
and prayer. 

Repeated demands were made upon Tee Peh, 
in the name of the great Yuah, for the deliver 
ance of the captives, but were met by him with 
a curt refusal, and also with threats, if the mes- 



196 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

sengers should return without the ransom. In 
the meetings, the burden of the prayers was that 
God would put His fear in the hearts of these 
heathen, and that the children might be so de 
livered that all the heathen, far and near, might 
be convinced that it was the living God who had 
appeared in behalf of the Christians. 

At the close of three days, during even 
ing worship, messengers returned with the cap 
tive children, their captors having surrendered 
them freely through the impelling fear of God. 
The full and thrilling account of this Divine 
interposition is given in " Soo Thah." 

The effect of this upon the native Christians, 
in strengthening their faith and inspiring their 
zeal, was most happy. Said one aged pastor, 
as the children arrived : " Behold what God has 
wrought for us. We never saw captives deliv 
ered before without ransom. Our Yuah has, in 
deed, returned to us, and wrought for us this 
wonderful work, as He did for His children in 
olden times." Such prominence had been given 
this affair that the whole country was aware of 
the contest between Tee Peh and the Christians. 
Many openly declared, " This is, indeed, a strug 
gle between Tee Peh and Yuah, the God of the 



The Gospel and the Savage Brecs 197 

Christians." And so the public and free sur 
render of the captives was heralded as a clear 
and complete victory for Yuah. Indeed, the 
fear of the Lord fell upon the heathen generally 
with great power. Applications for teachers 
poured in from all quarters. "We want this 
God," said they, " who cares for His children, 
to be our God." Chapels and houses for teach 
ers were erected in many villages, and captives 
from various towns were freely surrendered 
from fear of Yuah, " the God of the Christians." 

The excitement throughout the tribe also 
was great. How far the spiritual element en 
tered into the motives of the people in calling 
for teachers it would be difficult to say; but, un 
der the wise guidance of the native pastors, 
many true converts to Christ were won from 
the heathen through the influence of this event. 
Within four years about thirty villages had 
called teachers and begun the worship of God. 
The self-sacrificing devotion and zeal of these 
native pastors was exceedingly gratifying. They 
could not have endured and accomplished what 
they did save by the aid of the Holy Spirit. 

Here again, in the winning of converts and in 
their subsequent spiritual growth, was clearly 



198 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

manifested the miraculous work of the Holy 
Spirit. Persecution was common, and the whole 
atmosphere was impregnated with their old 
heathen thoughts and customs. To break away 
from these influences was no easy matter; but, 
in the course of time, intelligent churches, mani 
festing the true spirit of Christ, sprang into ex 
istence. Schools were established, and war and 
robbery ceased throughout the whole tribe. In 
comparison with the whole number of the tribe, 
few became true disciples; but these were rare 
jewels in the Saviour s crown. And their in 
fluence was most marked in transforming the 
morals of this great body of savages. 

Thus was wrought the miracle of the reforma 
tion of the Brec tribe, and the regeneration of 
many of its members, at the beginning a most 
unpromising people, hidden away in their moun 
tain fastnesses, far from the track of civilisa 
tion and of all Christian influences, sunken in 
the lowest depths of savagery, at war with all 
good influences, completely under the sway of 
the god of this world. To the all-conquering 
Jesus be ascribed the glory! 






XVI 

HOW WE CAPTURED THE MYANGYOUNG PONGYI 

EARLY in the year 1885, the English army 
marched from Lower Burma upon Man- 
dalay, the capital of the Burman Empire, 
then ruled by King Thee Baw. When in 1878, 
Meng Done Meng, the most illustrious of the 
Burman kings, died, the glory of that empire 
departed forever. After several years of in 
trigue, Thee Baw, a man of doubtful parentage 
and character, an inmate of the schools of the 
Buddhist priests, was brought to the throne. 
This was accomplished by the cunning of his 
half-sister and her mother, the former a prin 
cess by the name of Supi-yaw-lat, whom he sub 
sequently married. His coronation was the sig 
nal for the beginning of bloody massacres. 
These were committed upon the king s own rela 
tives, including men, women, and children, who 
might be able to interfere with Thee Baw s hold 
upon the throne. These massacres were of the 
199 



2OO Sketches from the Karen Hills 

most cruel character, and awakened a thrill of 
horror throughout the civilised world. 

As an example, the governor of Rangoon, a 
venerable Burman, highly esteemed by the com 
mon people, was caught, and his mouth filled 
with gunpowder, which was exploded. Others 
were covered with kerosene oil and burned. At 
the first massacre, over eighty, with their friends 
and relatives, were put to death; and at the 
second, several hundred were reported to have 
met a like fate. 

The English lion was hereby roused to action, 
and this wicked king was swept from his throne, 
and the dynasty of the " Golden-footed Kings, 
Lords of the White Elephant, Children of the 
Sun," came to an end forever; and the Burman 
Empire became part of the great Indian Empire, 
under the beneficent rule of her Majesty, Vic 
toria, the Empress of India. 

After the capture of Thee Baw s army, the 
commanding general of the English army made 
the fatal mistake of allowing the disbanded sol 
diers to retain their arms. As they were without 
support, they immediately formed bands for the 
purpose of " dacoity," or robbery. They went 
about the country pillaging, burning, and mur- 



Myangyoung Pongyi Captured 201 

dering their own people as well as foreigners. 
The English troops, with few exceptions, had 
been sent from Lower Burma into the upper 
country at the beginning of the war, so that that 
province was very poorly garrisoned. 

The dacoits, seeing this, entered Lower Burma, 
and were there joined by many of their coun 
trymen, either through fear, or the belief that 
the Burman king would yet drive the English 
out of the land. Moreover, the emissaries of 
the king, commissioned by him before his de 
thronement, aided much in inciting the people 
to revolt. They led them to believe that the 
Burman king had already been victorious over 
the English armies, and that soon all the Euro 
peans would be " driven into the sea." 

The chief leaders in this revolt were the Bud 
dhist priests. Among them was one called the 
Myangyoung Pongyi; taking the name of the 
Kyoung, or priests temple, where he lived, lo 
cated on the east side of the Sittang River, in 
the Tenasserim Province. He was a man of 
large stature, great cunning, and gained great 
influence among the people. The Burmans are 
naturally a very credulous race. They much 
more readily believe the most improbable story 



2O2 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

than the truth ; and the more marvellous the bet 
ter for them. This Pongyi took advantage of 
this fact, and pretended to have miraculous pow 
ers. He caused a large number of charms to 
be made. These consisted of cabalistic signs, 
figures, and sacred texts from the Betagat (the 
Burmese sacred book), which were printed on 
cloth, and blessed by the Tha-tha-na-being, or 
Buddhist high priest at Mandalay. These 
charms, he declared, would render those pos 
sessing one invulnerable. The people believed 
this implicitly, as was afterwards shown by the 
reckless way in which they exposed their lives 
in encounters with the English soldiers. 

On the I2th of December the English resi 
dents of Lower Burma were thrown into great 
alarm by reports that the Myangyoung Pongyi, 
with several thousand Shans and others, was 
devastating the country within less than a hun 
dred miles of Rangoon, the largest city of 
Burma. Immediately, as if by magic, armed 
bands sprang up all over English territory. Be 
fore the close of January of that year, more 
than a score of towns and villages had been cap 
tured, pillaged, and wholly or in part burned. 
In many of these towns the police had joined 



Myangyoung Pongyi Captured 203 

the rebels, taking their arms with them. In some 
places the local Burmese governors also had gone 
over to the insurgents. Much public, as well as 
private, property had been destroyed. The great 
canals uniting the Irrawady and Sittang rivers 
had been broken, and thousands of teak logs set 
adrift to the sea. 

As the days of December and January wore 
slowly away, the feeling of insecurity among the 
English, from the rulers down, increased. Like 
most mountaineers, the Karens are an independ 
ent and brave people. Yet up to this time they 
had been regarded by the English, as by their 
former Burman masters, as base and cowardly, 
because of their naturally peaceable and docile 
nature. On the other hand, the Burmans were 
regarded as the noblemen of the country. But 
the events now transpiring were rapidly revers 
ing these opinions. 

And now small bands of English soldiers were 
marching in hot haste through the country, striv 
ing to check the uprising of the people. Dis 
tracting reports filled the air. The destruction 
of the telegraph lines added to the general 
confusion. 

Toungoo is an inland city about one hundred 



204 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

and sixty miles north of Rangoon, and had at 
that time a population of about twenty- four 
thousand Burmans. The mission " compound " 
is on the bank of the Sittang River, in the heart 
of the city. Rumours of a rising of the in 
habitants of the whole city began to fill the air. 
Every European was armed, and the streets 
were patrolled night and day. The Karen Chris 
tians rallied around us for our protection. One 
night an attempt was made to fire the mission 
building, but was foiled by our Karen pro 
tectors. The missionaries were the special ob 
jects of hatred on the part of the Burmans, be 
cause of the help rendered by them in gathering 
news for the government through the Karen 
Christians. 

Meanwhile, the Myangyoung Pongyi was 
desolating the land. However, on the iQth 
of December, being repulsed from the large town 
of Shway-gyen, on the Sittang River, he re 
treated with a thousand followers into the moun 
tains to the eastward. As soon as he reached 
the hills, the Karens fell upon him, and greatly 
harassed him, impeding his progress. These 
Burmans, accustomed as they were to despise 
the Karens as weaklings, doubtless expected an 



Myangyoung Pongyi Captured 205 

easy conquest of their country. But now they 
were being rudely awakened to their miscon 
ception of these people, and were doomed to a 
still more painful surprise. 

At this stage of the conflict, an appeal was 
made to the government by the Karens all over 
Lower Burma for arms for their own protec 
tion. There were then about twenty-seven 
thousand Christians of this race, and they were 
proving themselves to be the most loyal and 
trustworthy of all the Queen s native subjects in 
Burma. Moreover, they had met the rebels in 
several pitched battles, and had shown remark 
able bravery, which had attracted the favourable 
notice of their rulers. Their appeal was at once 
acceded to, and soon the despised Karens were 
in high favour with the authorities, and they 
proved a large factor in reducing the province 
to order. 

In the Toungoo and Shway-gyen districts 
there were about seven thousand of these Chris 
tian Karens, who were led by their brave native 
pastors. At about this time an attack was made 
upon a Christian Karen village, in which the 
chapel, schoolhouse, and most of the dwellings 
were utterly destroyed. The pastor of the 



206 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

church hastily gathered his followers and set out 
in pursuit of the dacoits. So sharp was the fol 
lowing that they were surprised in their camp 
before noon, and the whole band captured. That 
night the Karens returned to their burned vil 
lage, and bound the dacoits to the charred posts 
of their houses for safe-keeping. In their at 
tack upon their village the enemy declared to 
the Karens that their Lord Jesus was dead, and 
could no longer help them. Now the victorious 
Karens retorted, "Where is your god?" 

The next day these prisoners were turned over 
to the nearest military station, and the Karens 
received the thanks of the government. This 
incident characterises the spirit of the Christian 
Karens among whom the Myangyoung Pongyi 
had fallen. A few days after this occurrence, 
another Christian village further in the moun 
tains was surprised, while the people were at 
worship, and the whole congregation captured. 
Having possessed themselves of the chapel, a 
Pongyi took the pulpit, and, after ordering the 
Bible and other books to be cut in pieces, he 
proclaimed, " Jesus Christ is dead, and His wor 
ship is at an end." In this case, the Karens had 
taken the precaution to hide their arms the pre- 



Myahgyoung Pongyi Captured 207 

ceding night, as they would not think of fight 
ing on the Sabbath; but on Monday morning 
they quietly drew them forth from their con 
cealment, and followed the dacoits. Finding 
them at their evening encampment, the Karens 
boldly attacked them, though greatly outnum 
bered. The pastor and several of his flock were 
shot; but the dacoits suffered much, and were 
so terrified by the boldness of the attack that 
they fled in confusion. 

Previous to this the main band had been vig 
orously attacked by these brave mountaineers, 
who had rallied from every village. They had 
also fought them with fire; for the jungles at 
the time were very dry and dense, and the flames 
burned fiercely; so that the dacoits were driven 
from their hiding-places and scattered. They 
thus found a worse foe to fight than the Eng 
lish soldiers on the plains. 

Many of the Shans following the Myang- 
young Pongyi had brought with them their wives 
and children. These latter, by their frequent 
crying, became a source of danger to them by 
attracting the attention of the Karens to their 
places of concealment. Hence, whenever a child 
cried, the brutal commander would order its 



208 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

immediate execution. In this way many chil 
dren among the dacoits perished. 

Soon runners from our own villages came to 
Toungoo, bringing reports that their towns and 
villages were being destroyed by the rebels. The 
excitement became intense, and the fear of the 
natives was very great; for they were as yet 
almost without arms for defence. We had made 
repeated appeals to the government to supply 
our people with guns and ammunition; for it 
was apparent that without these they would be 
destroyed by their implacable foes. These were 
at last secured, though with no little difficulty, 
as certain Burman officials, through their jeal 
ousy of the Karens, were striving to defeat our 
plans. By this time a large number of our 
Christian Karens had gathered on the mission 
compound, waiting for help. Within a half- 
hour from the time the arms were received they 
were distributed, luggage was packed on the 
backs of bearers, and we were off on our march 
to the seat of trouble among the blue hills to 
the eastward. 

Once on the road, we had time to think of 
the novel position into which we had been 
thrust. However, we determined it should be 



Myangyoung Pongyi Captured 209 

a mission of peace and mercy as far as possi 
ble; and, indeed, we found ample opportunity 
for saving life, and ministering to the wounded. 
We freely confess, however, that we formed 
the purpose of capturing, if possible, the Myang 
young Pongyi. We reasoned that, now having 
been battered and bruised by the English troops, 
and subsequently by the Karens, and having 
been much reduced in strength for want of food, 
both he and his followers must be much de 
moralised. With this special object in view, 
we distributed our armed men so as to guard 
every path by which the rebels would seek to 
escape. 

The second day of our march brought us into 
the disturbed country, and on the third we were 
in the heart of the trouble. And now our trials 
begun. We met a large band, and quickly 
dispersed them. Wounded men began to arrive 
for medical treatment. Three native Christians 
had been shot. A native pastor had secured a 
government gun and, while standing guard at 
one of the approaches to his village, had met 
a party of thirteen of the enemy, two of them 
with guns. The leader attempted to shoot him, 
but his gun missed fire. The second dacoit then 



2io Sketches from the Karen Hills 

attempted to shoot him, but the native pastor 
was too quick for him and shot him dead, at the 
same time putting the whole band to flight. At 
night prisoners began to arrive, and now we 
found our mission to be one of saving lives; 
for the Karens were so exasperated by the kill 
ing and wounding of their comrades that, for 
the time, their old savage instincts were likely 
to get control of them. Doubtless, without re 
straint, they would, in some instances, at least, 
have administered summary punishment to their 
prisoners. 

The next morning we marched directly to the 
reported stronghold of the Myangyoung Pongyi. 
Prisoners had assured us of his position, and 
that he and his followers were much disheart 
ened. Meanwhile, the Myooke, or local gov 
ernor, a Karen Christian, had joined us with 
a small body of Karen police. We now num 
bered, with those guarding the villages and 
roads, over a hundred armed men. Reaching 
the rendezvous of the dacoits, we found they 
had left; but the dead bodies, with evidences of 
hasty departure, showed us that they had again 
been successfully attacked by the hillmen south 
of us. That night prisoners were brought in by 



Myangyoung Pongyi Captured 211 

scores men, women, and some children, the 
latter in great distress; and again we had the 
privilege of saving life, and of relieving much 
suffering. 

The next day a notable prisoner was brought 
in, or so his captors claimed ; " for," they said, 
"he has gold, and must, therefore, be a great 
man." Gold is rarely met with among these 
hillmen, and hence their estimate of the im 
portance of this captive. It appeared from their 
account that the previous night, at one of the 
most distant Christian villages, a man came to 
some Karen women, who were husking rice by 
pounding it in a mortar, for their evening meal. 
Standing at a distance and, as he could not speak 
the language of the people, making motions, he 
indicated that he was hungry and wanted food. 
The women were alarmed and shook their heads. 
He stepped forward and held out a handful of 
silver; but, still fearing he was one of the da- 
coits, they shook their heads and retreated. The 
stranger then held out a handful of gold, point 
ing to the rice they had been cleaning. 

It flashed upon them that, as he seemed to 
be alone, their men could capture him; and that 
he might be a man of importance, as he had so 



212 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

much wealth with him. So they nodded assent, 
and took him up into their house. While one 
of the women proceeded to cook the rice, the 
other went rapidly down the narrow path to 
call the men of the village, who were on guard, 
having the one government gun which had been 
given them. They returned, and two of them 
went into the house just as the stranger was sit 
ting down on the floor to eat. 

The two men succeeded in throwing the 
stranger off his guard, his famishing hunger 
doubtless helping to calm his fears. Before he 
had finished eating, one of the men, having 
worked his way behind him, took a woman s 
skirt, hanging near, and suddenly drew it over 
the head of the stranger. The whole company 
now set upon him, reinforced by those waiting 
outside, and, though fighting desperately, he was 
soon bound hand and foot. When brought into 
camp the next day, besides having his hands 
tied, he was led by three ropes, one around his 
neck, another fastened about his waist, and a 
third secured to his bound hands. He had made 
desperate attempts to escape, hence these pre 
cautions of his captors. 

As soon as he was brought before the Myooke, 



Myangyoung Pongyi Captured 213 

that officer fastened his eyes upon him, and ex 
claimed : " AhrMai-gyee ! You have caught the 
Myangyoung Pongyi himself, the leader of this 
rebellion! Tis he surely. I know him well. 
There is a five-thousand-rupee reward for his 
capture " (A rupee is equal to about thirty- 
five cents in our money). 

This so excited those who had suffered most 
at his hands, that it was difficult to restrain 
them from killing him then and there. The 
next day the march was begun towards the near 
est military post. There was a long train of 
prisoners, besides their recent leader. On the 
way the latter called the Myooke, and said to 
him : " You are a great man, and so am I. I 
have gold, silver, precious stones, and elephants. 
Let me escape, and all these riches are yours." 
The Christian Myooke replied, " Were you able 
to give me heaven and earth, I would not let 
you go." 

The next day the captured chief acted as if 
he were weak, and pleaded that his hands might 
be loosed while he was eating his rice. On this 
being granted, he watched his opportunity, and, 
hurling aside several of the guard, came very 
near escaping. But one of the guards clubbed 



214 Sketches from the Karen Hills 

him down with the butt of his gun. After this 
he was more closely watched than ever, and so 
he was securely brought to our mission com 
pound, and delivered up to the proper authori 
ties. This capture excited special excitement 
among the English residents throughout the 
country. And large numbers of the native popu 
lation, as well as of the English, came to 
see him. 

The disgust of those English officers, who had 
been hunting this Pongyi for months, was nat 
urally very great. Said one, as he stood look 
ing at the prisoners gathered in the mission com 
pound, " Who captured these ? " " These Karen 
Christians," was the reply. "What! these Ka 
rens? (with a slight sneer). Can they fight?" 
"Well, sir," was the reply, "they don t like 
to, but they have made this attempt." Turning 
to a fellow officer, he said, with supreme dis 
gust : " See here, I have been hunting this 
Pongyi for three months. If I had caught him, 
I should have secured the five thousand rupees 
and a promotion; and now these Karens have 
got him and the reward." 

This capture broke the backbone of the re 
bellion; for all the Burmans regarded the 



Myangyoung Pongyi Captured 215 

Myangyoung Pongyi as invincible. It also raised 
the despised Karen Christians to a high plane 
in the esteem of all good men, and of the rulers 
of the country. But their surprise knew no 
bounds, when these honest Karens brought in 
with their prisoners the large sums of gold and 
silver that had been captured with them, and 
laid the treasure at their feet. In reply to their 
expressions of astonishment, the Karen Chris- 
tions said: "It is not ours. We bring it to 
you." Having received the reward of five thou 
sand rupees, they first helped those who had 
suffered loss by the rebels, and then divided the 
remainder among their schools. This is how we 
captured the Myangyoung Pongyi. 



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vious works of this character in that it is written from a view 
point entirely historical. The defeats are considered as fully 
as the victories; pitfalls to be avoided as well as examples to 
be followed. 

Adventures With Four-Footed Folk 

and Other Creatures of the Animal World. 
Illustrated, $1.00. BELLE M. BRAIN 

The author has established a reputation through her pop 
ular missionary readings. No one is able to detect an inter 
esting story more quickly. In her latest work she has selected 
some of the most thrilling stories from the mission field, 
dealing with animals of all sort, from Egerton R. Young s 
sledge dogs in the North West to the man-eating tiger in 
India. 



TRAVEL RESEARCH 

The Jungle Folk of Africa 

With Introduction by Robert Mackenzie, D.D., LL.D. 
Illustrated, net, $1.50. ROBERT H. MILLIQAN 

Mr. Milligan has given us a book which has all the fas 
cination of the narratives of the famous travelers. The singu 
lar power of the book is to make the black African seem a 
real human person. This book is written as a personal nar 
rative and the author gives his own experiences with the 
natives of several tribes as he knew them. These experiences 
were tragic and comic, sadly mingled and so human that the 
book is certain to take rank as a standard. No casual trav 
eler can ever excell it for close information. 

The Continent of Opportunity 

The South American Republics Their History, Their re 
sources, Their Outlook. 

FRANCIS E. CLARK, D.D. 

Illustrated, net, $1.50. 

"Dr. Clark s impressions are fresh and vivid, the scenic 
features, the marvelous natural resources of this vast terri 
tory, and the social characteristics of the people are pre 
sented in interesting and informing fashion. Dr. Clark s 
journey, which occupied five months, was begun at Panama, 
when he sailed for Valparaiso. He visited, after Panama, 
Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Agentine, Uruguay and Brazil. 
A map and numerous illustrations add to the value of the 
book." The Interior. 

Drugging a Nation 

The Story of the Influence of Opium on the Chinese Nation 
Illustrated. In press. SAMUEL MERWIN 

- Mr. Merwin has a well established reputation as a novel 
ist, but recently joined the editorial staff of "Success" and 
last year made a trip through China for the purpose of dis 
covering the effects of the use of opium upon the Chinese. 
He here presents his findings and deductions, and shows a 
startling condition for which the Chinese themselves are not 
primarily responsible, and against which their government is 
making a determined fight. 

Twenty Years in Persia 

A Narrative of Life under the Shadow of Three Shahs, with 
experiences of travel and observation and an account of 
recent changes in Iran, by the Director of the American 
Presbyterian Hospital, Teheran. 

Illustrated, net, $1.50. JOHN a. WISHARD 

It is stated that less than three hundred Americans have 
ever set foot within the bounds of Iran. Recalling Persia s 
long and honorable history, her learning and civilization dating 
back almost to the beginning of time, yet hidden for centu 
ries from the Western World, first-hand information by this 
long-time resident physician will prove uniquely interesting 
and be a revelation to most readers. 



MISSIONARY 



ROBERT E. SPEER June 

Christianity and the Nations 

The Duff lectures for 1910. 
8vo, cloth, net $2.00. 

Among the many notable volumes that have resulted 
from the well-known Duff foundation Lectureship this new 
work embodying the series given by Mr. Robert E. Speer 
in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen, will ra-ik among the 
most important. The general theme, "The R,/!ex Influence 
of Missions upon the Nations," suggests a large, important, 
and most interesting work. The mime of the lecturer is 
sufficient guarantee of the method of treatment. 

HENRY H. JESSUP March 

Fifty-three Years in Syria 

Introduction by James S. Dennis. Two volumes, illustrated, 

8vo, cloth, boxed, net $5.00. 

This autobiographical record of half a century s experi 
ence in the mission field of Syria, is rich in color, narra 
tive and insight. It is also incidentally a history of the 
mission work for the period but told with a personal touch 
and from the innermost standpoint. It is a pioneer s story, 
and as such never lacks in interest. 

JULIUS RIGHTS R March 

A History of Protestant Missions in the 
Near East svo, doth, net $ 2 . S o. 

A companion volume to "A History of Missions in 
India" by this great authority. The progress of the gospel 
is traced in Asia Minor, Persia, Arabia, Syria and Egypt. 
Non-sectarian in spirit and thoroughly comprehensive in 
scope. "It is truly a notable work and can be endorsed 
in unqualified terms, John R. Mott. 

WILLIAM EDWARD GARDNER February 

Winners of the World During Twenty 

CentUrieS Adapted for Boys and Girls. 
A Story and a Study of Missionary Effort from the Time of 

Paul to the Present Day. Cloth, net 6oc; paper, net 300. 

Brief sketches of great missionaries in chronological 
order, extending down through Augustine and Boniface 
the apostles to England and Germany, Xavier in Japan, and 
Brainerd among the Indians, to Carey, Moffat and Living 
stone and Missionaries of our own day. Intensely stimulat 
ing and suggestive. 



MISSIONARY 



The Foreign Missionary An I " e TJSS2f" W rld 

i2tno, Cloth, $1.50 net. ARTHUR J. BROWN 

Dr. Brown, out of a. long and intimate experience deals 
with such questions as, Who is the Missionary? What are 
his motives, aims and methods? His dealings with proud 
and ancient peoples. His relation to his own and other 
governments? His real difficulties. Do results justify the 
expenditures? How are the Mission Boards conducted? 
etc., etc. The book is most intelligently informing. 

The Conquest of the Cross in China 

JACOB SPEICHER 

WJth Chart and Illustrations, ismo, Cloth, $1.50 et. 

The contents of this book were first delivered as lec 
tures to the students at Colgate University. Mr. Speieher has 
the true instinct of the news bringer. He has lived in South 
China long enough to know it thoroughly. He is distin 
guished by common sense in his judgments, made palatable 
by a free literary style. 

China in Legend and Story 

I2mo, Cloth, $1.25 net. C. CAMPBELL BROWN 

By one of the C. M. S. best known missionaries. It 
consists of seventeen stories, true to legend or to fact, ten of 
them studies of the Chinese people as they are when heathen, 
and seven of them of the same people when they become 
Christians. The stories cover a wide range of social life, 
representing every class in the community, from mandarins 
to thieves and beggars. As Mr. Campbell Brown is a keen 
observer, and wields a graceful pen, the book is unusually 
interesting and valuable. 

A Typical Mission in China 

lamo, Cloth, $1,50 net. W. E. SOOTHILL 

"The book is comprehensive, instructive, well written, 
interesting and valuable in every way. Those who read it 
will get such a glimpse into Chinese life and methods as they 
may never have had, and will certainly be edified and stimu 
lated to a new zeal in the work of missions." Herald and 
Presbyter. 



Robert Clark of the Panjab p 

8vo, Cloth, f i 75 net. HENRY MARTYN CLARK 

"The record of one of the makers of Christian India: as 
fascinating as a novel, and immensely more profitable. The 
more widely this book is circulated and read, the better it will 
be for the missionary enterprise. A book of this character is 
the best apologetic that can be written." Missionary 
gencer, 



IN OTHER LANDS 



Poland, the Knight Among Nations 

With Introduction by Helena Modjeska. 

Illustrated, Cloth, $1.50 net. LOUIS E. VAN NORMAN 

Poland is worth knowing it is interesting. How could 
it be otherwise when it gave us Copernicus, Kosciusko, 
Chopin, Paderewski and Sienkiewicz. Not much has been 
known about the people because they have been hard to 
get at. Mr. Van Norman went to Cracow, won the hearts 
of the people, was treated like a guest of the nation and 
stayed till he knew his hosts well, and he here conveys an ex 
tensive array of information. 

The Continent of Opportunity: south America 

Profusely illustrated, $1.50 net. FRANCIS E. CLARK 

Dr. Clark writes from a thorough-going tour of examina 
tion, covering practically every centre of importance in South 
American continent, Panama, Chile, Ecuador, Peru, Argen 
tine, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. Dr. Clark s prime 
object has been to collect information of every sort that 
will help to understand the problems facing Civilization in 
our sister Continent. 

China and America To-day 

i;zmo, Cloth, $1.25 net. ARTHUR H. SMITH 

Dr. Smith is one of America s ablest representatives at 
foreign courts. He is not so accredited by the government 
of this country, but rather chooses to be known as a mis 
sionary to China. In this capacity he has learned much of 
China which in another relation might be denied him. Being 
a statesman by instinct and genius, he has taken a broad 
survey of conditions and opportunities and here presents his 
criticisms of America s strength and weakness abroad. 

Ancient Jerusalem 

Illustrated. In press. HON. SELAH MERRILL 

This work will immediately be recognized as authorita 
tive and well nigh final. Dr. Merrill, as the American 
Consul, has lived at Jerusalem for many years, and has 
given thirty-five years of thorough, accurate study and ex 
ploration to this exhaustive effort. It contains more than 
one hundred maps, charts, and photographs. 

Palestine Through the Eyes of a Native 

Illustrated, $1.00 net. GAMAHLIEL WAD-EL-WARD 

The author, a native of Palestine, has been heard and 
appreciated in many parts of this country in his popular 
lectures upon the land in which so large a part of his life 
was spent. His interpretation of many obscure scriptural 
passages by means of native manners and customs and tra 
ditions is particularly helpful and informing. 



TRAVEL, MISSIONARY 



H. G. UNDERWOOD 

The Call of Korea 

New Popular Edition. Paper, net 350. Regular Edition, 

i2mo, cloth, net 750. 

"As attractive as a novel packed with information. Dr. 
Underwood knows Korea, its territory, its people, and its 
needs, and his book has special value which attaches to expert 
judgment. Particularly well suited to serve as a guide to 
young people in the study of missions." Examiner. 

WILLIAM O. CARVER 

Missions in the Plan of the Ages 

Bible Studies and Missions. i2mo, cloth, net $1.25. 

As Professor of Comparative Religion and Missions in 
the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary at Louisville, Dr. 
Carver has prepared in these chapters the fruit of many 
years study. His aim is to show that the foundation prin 
ciples of the Christian task of world conquest are found in 
the Bible not so much in the guise of a commanded duty as 
in the very life of the Christian faith. 

ANNIE L A. BAIRD 

Daybreak in Korea 

Illustrated, i6mo, cloth, net 6oc. 

There can never be too many missionary books like this. 
A story written with literary skill, the story of a girl s life 
in Korea, her unhappy marriage and how the old, old story 
transformed her home. It reads like a novel and most of all 
teaches one, on every page, just what the Gospel means to 
the far eastern homes. 

ISABELLA RIGGS WILLIAMS 

By the Great Wall 

Selected Correspondence of Isabella Riggs Williams, Mis 
sionary of the American Board to China, 1866-1897. 
With an introduction by Arthur H. Smith. Illustrated, 
i2mo, cloth, net $1.50. 

"This volume is a little window opened into the life and 
work of an exceptionally equipped missionary. It was at 
Kalgan, the northern gateway of China, that a misssion 
station was begun amid a people hard and unimpressible. 
It was here that Mrs. Williams won the hearts of Chinese 
women and girls; here that she showed what a Christian 
home may be, and how the children of such a home can be 
trained for wide and unselfish usefulness wherever their lot 
is cast. No object-lesson is more needed in the Celestial Empire 
than this. Many glimpses of that patient and tireless mis 
sionary activity which makes itself all things to all men are 
given/ Arthur H. Smith, Author of Chinese Characteristics, 
Etc. 



MISSIONARY TRAVELS 



The Kingdom in India 

With Introductory Biographical Sketch by Henry N.Cobb,D.D. 
Net, $1.50. JACOB CHAMBERLAIN 

"This volume is Mr. Chamberlain s own account of what 
he did, saw and felt. As a teacher, a preacher and a medical 
missionary, Dr. Chamberlain stood in the front ranks. If 
all who are abroad could have the ability, the training, and 
the heart interest in the redemption of the endarkened lands 
that Mr. Chamberlain s life reveals, and the suport for carry 
ing on the gospel were adequately furnished, the future would 
be radiant with hope." Religious Telescope. 



The History of Protestant Missions 
in India 

Illustrated, 8vo, cloth, net, $2.50. JULIUS RICHTER 

The author of this book is the authority in Germany on 
missionary subjects. This, his latest work, has proven so 
valuable as to demand this translation into English. India is 
a vast field and the missionary operations there are carried on 
by many societies. This survey of the field is broad and ac 
curate, it reaches every part of the work and every society in 
the field, and gives a splendid summary of what has actually 
been accomplished. It has the unqualified approbation of the 
workers on the field themselves. 



Overweights of Joy 

A Story of Mission Work in Southern India. 
Net, $1.00. AMY WILSON CARMICHAEL 

Mission-loving men and women, if you would know 
India, and the glorious uphill fighting of its missionaries, you 
must read this book, hot with actual experiences, and learn 
the truth. 

"A priceless contribution to Missionary literature." 
Illustrated Missionary News. 



Bishop Hannington and The Story of the 
Uganda Mission 

Illustrated, net, $1.00. W. GRINTON BERRY 

The personality of Bishop Hannington was full of color 
and vigor, and the story of his work, particularly of his ad 
ventures in East Africa, ending with his martyrdom on the 
shores of the Victoria Nyanza, is one of the most fascinating 
in missionary annals. Hannington was himself a picturesque 
writer, with a noteworthy gift of producing dashing and hu- 
tnorous descriptive sketches, and quite a third of the present 
Volume consists of Hannington s own narratives.